An Unstable Obsession

There was an earthquake last night. Did you know?

3.4 (moderate).

16 kms below Porongohau.

It rumbled away at 3 01 in the morning.

Most people wouldn’t know this because they’d be sound asleep or drunk, or driving home from a spectacular night out.

But I know this fact because I have a peculiar interest in earthquakes.

I say interest, but it’s a problem. I can’t get my laptop shut without straying into earthquake search sites.

Sometimes, I’ve nearly closed my laptop and I find my left hand has deftly disobeyed instructions. Whilst I’m busy reprimanding leftie for hitting G, I find sneaky right has leapt in and pushed enter.

There’s always time at this point to resist, but I never do. I’m in again, intent on my fix.

You’re sick, I tell myself but I don’t listen. I know people like me with Internet issues are hard of hearing when it comes to internal monitors. It’s all about the G, ‘bout the G…..


First up, I skim the day and date of the most recent earthquakes and pick up immediately from where I last left off.

All my old friends are there: Seddon, Ruatoria, Christchurch, Taupo. Taupo? It’s been a while.

Ruatoria rumbles away but never gets much higher than a 2.9 or a 3 and as for Te Kaha? Who knew there was so much activity happening under Te Kaha?

I first noticed I was having trouble resisting Geonet, when the big earthquake hit Wellington a few years ago. I hadn’t discovered my addiction during the Christchurch shockers; in those days I found out about the quakes at news time.

Once I discovered Geonet, New Zealand went from being a peaceful corner of the world to a couple of rocking, jolting, vulnerable islands. I imagined us being flipped like pancakes or mashed up like potatoes. Harmless gusts of wind became precursors to the big one.

Precious Mahia changed from being a sleepy escape to a susceptible isthmus waiting for a Tsunami or earthquake to wrench it free from the rest of NZ.

Now, I always end the night there with my car facing the gate and my shoes, keys and glasses handy. (Bugger all the other nocturnal problems Mahia may have; I’m prepared for the big one.)

Eventually I figured out that five visits a day to Geonet wasn’t healthy, so five visits an hour was definitely a problem. I have a ‘resisting/reward scheme’ in place to help me now.

I’d like to point out that 47,000 people follow Geonet. Surely they’re not all geologists?

And as for that recent 3.4 shake? 68,000 people said they felt it.


An Unstable Obsession

An all too familiar sight in NZ