Earthquake captured on organ recording

02:12, Jul 04 2012
St Paul's Cathedral pipe
RUMBLE ON RECORD: St Paul's Cathedral pipe organ.

Audio from last night's magnitude 7 earthquake has been captured in a recording of a concert organist at Wellington's St Peter's church.

The tremor, which struck last night at 10.36pm, was centred 230km deep and was 60km south of the Taranaki town of Opunake.

It was felt as far north as Bay of Plenty and as far south as Otago, and GNS seismologists said it was the largest felt in the area over the past 120 years.

The long, rolling quake was felt strongly in the capital and at the time it struck, organist Dianne Halliday was playing a concert piece which was being recorded in St Peter's church.

Assistant Director of Music at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul Richard Apperley was in the sound booth producing and engineering the track as part of a session recording for a commercial CD to be released by his production company Organism.

He said they had been recording for a number of hours at St Peter's before the quake hit.

"We'd been recording for about three hours already and [the earthquake] started really gently, so she continued playing.

"But then it got worse, and the whole building was shaking and she was upstairs at the time and I was down in the control room."

He said the recording captured the wooden beams of the building shaking, and he described them as visibly waving.

Distortion could also be heard in the recording through wind pressure waving while Halliday continued playing, Apperley said.

"It was absolutely terrifying, particularly after the Christchurch earthquake, I think everyone is now well aware of the damage that could be done."

Last night's quake was 230km deep, but scientists say the quake would have been significantly worse had it been at a shallower depth.