Ring of Fire: will an earthquake kill me?


Probably, unless you’re a news junkie (Garrett?), you’ve not heard of “The Moon Man.” He is a lunar scientist in New Zealand who has successfully predicted both major Christchurch earthquakes based on “king tides.” It’s my understanding that a kingtide is described by both a full moon AND the closest moon-earth relationship possible. The last kingtides were apparently 212 years ago, if I remember what I read.

Moon Man says the biggest kingtide yet is coming in five days and he expects another big earthquake along one of New Zealand’s countless fault lines. He’s been accused of fear-mongering and been run out of the country. Some are believers (Pat’s boss is flying to the North Island for the duration). Pat and I are both skeptical, but I’ve learned my lesson about doubting mother nature*. Don’t laugh. We’ve made a disaster plan in case we’re not together if/when something happens (pretty easy when your family consists of two people) and stocked up on food and water. It feels a bit silly, but I suppose it would be sillier not to. With the Ring of Fire going off the way it has lately (Christchurch, Christchurch again, Japan…), I’m not betting against it!

To avoid worrying our mothers unnecessarily, I’ve set this blog to auto-post on the 21st – after the “kingtide” has come and gone. If something reallly does happen and we can’t communicate, you’ll know we’re safe!

So, what are things to think about when you bother to contemplate this sort of thing? Because Lake Wanaka is enormous and has the potential for major flood/tsunami destruction, we’ve chosen to meet on the road outside our gym which is up on a hill. Plan B, supposing the hill falls down or the area is inaccessible, is to meet out at an intersection near Pat’s work where there is nothing but wide open space. That’s also where we’ve stored some of our more excessive earthquake preparation purchases. Because we’re mobile anyway, we don’t really have to think about blankets, flashlights, extra clothes, cooking fuel, etc., as we have that stuff all ready to go!

All right. Fingers crossed for no earthquake. Probably I will forget all about it in the next few days. So, Moms, if you read this and you haven’t heard from us AND you haven’t heard about a major New Zealand earthquake – we’re fine, just absorbed in long work days!

*once when I was 18, I was climbing Static Peak in the Grand Tetons with two friends. A typical afternoon storm rolled in and brought with it the static electricity that I had grown accustomed to – living all my young life in dry, stormy Wyoming. One of the guys, after working at a nearby camp all summer, suggested we follow the camp’s safety precautions in this sort of situation and all get into “the lightning position.” The other guy readily agreed, while I turned my nose up at such silly nonsense. After ten minutes, they rejoined the picnic, flanking me on both sides. As I smuggly enjoyed my ramen noodles, I suddenly felt small, quick rapid tugs on the back of my hair, then heard five or six snaps, then saw a bolt of lightning race across our heads from right to left before letting out a deafening crack. I threw myself down hard on the ground as the ache of electrocution throbbed in my limbs. In an instant panic we were all shouting, grabbing gear, and running for the edge of the peak. We scrambled and stumbled our way to an overhang a quarter-mile below where we promptly flipped on the rescued video camera and recorded – Blair Witch style – our breathy accounts of what had just happened to us. When the rain that followed the lightning had dried out of my hair, I discovered a large chunk of the back had been fried off – truly a close call. Next time, I’ll get in the lightning position.



2 comments

  • April 17, 2011 at 4:19 am

    where is that video?

  • April 8, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    I had heard of this this guy, and I read up on the “moon man.” There is no scientific evidence to correlate large earthquakes with the earth’s proximity to the moon. This seems like a bit of mysticism to me, but that is not to say that someone might come along and prove him right. Seems unlikely though.

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