Chch quake expert caught up in US shake

02:13, Aug 24 2011
Geophysicist Professor Kevin Furlong who has studied the Christchurch September earthquake found himself caught up in the US quake drama.
Geophysicist Professor Kevin Furlong who has studied the Christchurch September earthquake found himself caught up in the US quake drama.

An American expert on the Canterbury earthquakes who recently returned to the United States has found himself caught up in the largest east coast quake there for more than 20 years.

The 5.8-magnitude quake centred in Mineral, Virginia, at a shallow depth of 6 kiklometres, the US Geological Survey said.

Early reports had put the quake at 5.9 and a depth of 1km.

Professor Kevin Furlong, a seismologist at Pennsylvania State University, was a visiting fellow in Canterbury University's geological sciences department at the time of the September quake.

Furlong told The Press this morning the last thing he expected when he returned last month to the "earthen US" was he would experience a significant quake in upstate Pennsylvania.

"I have to say it was a bit of déjà vu all over again.

Advertisement

"I thought getting back to the earthen US I wasn't going to have any more of the Canterbury experience, but this was a real event.

"The interesting thing is that although we are more than 300km away from the epicentre, we still had about 10 seconds or more of strong shaking. It caught people a bit by surprise in terms of how to react, but some parts of campus were evacuated.

"Clearly closer to the earthquake, like Washington DC, the shaking was more sheer with reports of some damage. I guess one of the things to be grateful for is that this one was not in any major built up area - the nearest big city,  Richmond, Virginia, is more like 40km away."

He had had a busy afternoon handling media inquiries, which reminded him of his time in New Zealand, Furlong said.

 

ENDS

The Press