Archive for New Zealand
The stranded container ship Rena, which ran aground on the Astrolabe reef on Wednesday, has had all non-essential crew members removed by the New Zealand navy. The news came as a fresh oil leak from the ship was discovered and the first oil was washed up on the shore of North Island. An attempt to siphon off oil from the Rena onto an adjacent tanker was abandoned after just 10 tonnes of an estimated 1,700 due to bad weather. Around 30 tonnes have so far leaked into the ocean. Overnight, the ship’s position has changed atop the reef as the pinnacle it was wedged on collapsed causing the evacuation as a precautionary measure. 500 workers are on standby to cleanup beaches around North Island but the authorities have warned locals not to get involved. Maritime New Zealand issued a statement saying: ‘although it looks bad, the oil in its clumped state is at no risk of going anywhere, and people attempting to remove it without the proper training or equipment risk making the situation worse.’ It has been claimed that the Rena was involved in a near miss incident just two days before it ran aground.
www.nzherald.co.nz 23rd February 2011
The beleaguered city of Christchurch on the East coast of South Island, New Zealand, has been hit by a second deadly earthquake in less than 6 months as a tremor measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale hit earlier today (1251 local time). According to Prime Minister John Key, 65 people have died so far with hundreds more trapped beneath fallen buildings. Although smaller than the 4th September earthquake last year, which measured 7.3, today’s shock was far shallower with an epicentre only 10km away from the New Zealand coast. Fortunately, there were no fatalities with the bigger earthquake. However, the current death toll today, which is likely to rise significantly, is already the second highest in New Zealand’s history. It is only surpassed by the huge earthquake (7.9) of 1931 in Hawke’s Bay that killed 256. The 70th anniversary of that sad day was marked only a few weeks ago.
www.independent.co.uk 15th October 2010
A multi-national team made up of scientists from Japan, New Zealand, and Scotland have discovered several new species in one of the deepest places on the planet. The Peru-Chile trench more than 8000 metres deep and previously thought to be devoid of fish life. The research team used deep-sea imaging technology to take 6000 photographs between 4500 and 8000m in depth. Among the new species was a new type of snailfish called a Liparid living at a depth of 7000m. Large gatherings of Cusk Eels and crustacean scavengers were also recorded for the first time at this depth. The research is the 7th expedition undertaken by a collaborative project (HADEEP) by the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab and the University of Tokyo’s Ocean Research Institute, supported by New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (NIWA).
news.sky.com 22nd September 2010
80 Pilot Whales have beached themselves on the North Island of New Zealand in the second mass beaching in a month. Bad weather forced the whales onto the Rarawa Beach near Auckland and so far around half have died. Conservationists fear that more will follow as the mammals have strong social bonds and are known to try and help each other when trapped. The local authorities plan to lift the whales into trucks and drive them to a more suitable area of shore. Hundreds of volunteers are helping in the rescue including members of the local Maori community. A similar event happened half way through August with 58 Pilot Whales involved. Only 9 ended up surviving the ordeal. Scientists still do not know why this phenomena occurs.
news.sky.com 19th September 2010
The second natural disaster in a fortnight has struck the islands of New Zealand. A storm the size of Australia has passed over the islands causing widespread blackouts and roof collapses. Lightning storms caused fires and trees were toppled disrupting transport links. So far 100,000 are reported to have lost power over Friday night due to the weather with 17,000 failing to be reconnected by Saturday afternoon. The effects of the storm has been diverse across the archipelago with the North experiencing the brunt of the lightning and winds and the South being subjected to heavy snow that has caused a stadium roof to collapse. Despite the string of natural disasters that have beset the island, no casualties have been reported either from this hurricane force storm or the Earthquake that struck off Christchurch two weeks ago.
Sources: http://www.3news.co.nz 10th September 2010
A rare Hourglass Dolphin has been found on the beaches of Flea Bay near Christchurch, New Zealand. The dolphin is incredibly rare and this specimen is only the 7th to be studied in the world. It was discovered by the Department of Conservation and buried almost straight away. Fortunately, a marine biology professor at the nearby Massey University asked if she could dig up the body so her students could dissect it. Karen Stockin believed the corpse to be a comparatively common Dusky Dolphin and was shocked to see the distinctive black and white markings of an Hourglass Dolphin. An autopsy to ascertain the cause of death is nearing its end. Very little in known about the Hourglass Dolphin. The bones of this specimen will join others at the country’s ‘national collection’ at Te Papa.
Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news 7th September 2010
The city of Christchurch on the South Island of New Zealand has been hit by further after-shocks following Saturday’s earthquake that measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale. More than a dozen shocks hit land last night with two measuring 5.4 on the Richter Scale. It is reported that two thirds of the city’s 160,000 homes have experienced some damage and the centre of town continues to be sealed off. There have been no fatalities however and power has been restored to most of the island. Also, all major roads and rail links are open. So far around 300 have been left homeless due to this environmental disaster and many of the city’s historic buildings are being torn down due to severe structural damage. Residents are being encouraged to boil their water before drinking due to fears that sewage pipes could have burst.
New Zealand experiences thousands of earthquakes a year but only around 20 reach a magnitude of 5.0 or greater. New Zealand’s position adjacent to the convergence of the Pacific tectonic plate and the Indo-European plate is responsible for this. Due to the relatively shallow epi-centre of this earthquake, there could be a lot more earthquakes to come.
Sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news 3rd September 2010
A strong earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, has been recorded off New Zealand’s South Island. Although damage to cars, roads, and buildings has been reported no casualties are known of so far. Aftershocks continued for about an hour after the initial quake, which struck 1635 GMT. The epicentre of the earthquake (the point in the earth’s crust where two plates slip to cause tremours) was some 35 miles North-West of Christchurch, population 386,000, and 7.5 miles beneath the sea’s surface. New Zealand experiences around 12,000 earthquakes a year but less than 20 rise above 5.0 on the Richter Scale. The last fatality recorded due to an earthquake however occurred in 1968.