Melanie from Auckland Museum phoned the Braveheart this morning to ask if we’d felt the big magnitude 6.1 earthquake that was recorded in this part of the world mid-morning, but none of us here on boat noticed anything. Mind you, the boat is always swinging and rocking, and there’s constant noise from wind, waves and generators, so it would have to be a mighty bang for us to have detected it.
It was a different story for the ‘extra terrestrials’, as the crew have taken to calling our land crew Warren and Peter, as they are camped on Macauley Island. I have just spoken with Warren on the radio, and as a Christchurch resident his first comment was ‘it’s just like being in Christchurch!’
He reported that first there was a very loud rumble, and then the ground shook for quite a while. He thought it must have been at least a magnitude 5 (he has developed that in-built seismometer response of many Christchurch folk!). He and Peter were in a ravine at the time, and as they were concerned that loose rocks might start falling, they both high-tailed it back up to the plateau. He said they have not felt any aftershocks, but he has been a bit on edge all day.
Volcanic activity is the more usual danger up here – Raoul last erupted in 2006, and geologists working on the Kermadec arc of volcanoes recently recorded an underwater volcano where none had been recorded before. There are ‘hot springs’ marked on the maritime charts off Denham Bay up at Raoul, and we have noticed bubbles rising out of the sand in places around here, a sure sign of something happening underground.