January 8, 2012 Back to Reality
A day in Akaroa
I spent my last day in New Zealand in a town called Akaroa, a small town that sits along a bay, inside an eroded crater of an ancient volcano. Natives to New Zealand, called Maori, named the town Akaroa, which means long harbor. This is because it sits along a long waterfront. The 84 kilometer drive to Akaroa was beautiful. I spent hours hiking through lush forests, visiting old cemeteries and sitting at the harbor watching black swans, geese and other birds find food in the water.
Earthquakes in Auckland
I flew from Christchurch to Auckland, and was waiting to board my flight to Los Angeles when I felt the ground shaking. The shaking probably lasted about 10 or 15 seconds. After looking up information about the quake on a website dedicated to earthquakes in Canterbury, I discovered that the earthquake occurred at 8:04 p.m. (on January 6), had a magnitude of 4.7, was 11 km deep, and was located 20 km east of Christchurch. Soon after the quake, I flew to Los Angeles, then to Phoenix, and finally back to Austin.
After many hours of flying, I was excited when the plane touched the runway in Austin, Texas. I walked down the steps of the airport to see my fiance with a bouquet of flowers. I feel so lucky for my wonderful experiences in Antarctica, but even luckier to come home to wonderful family and friends. Although I am still working through some jet lag, I am looking forward to returning to my classes tomorrow.
Bob recently emailed me and he and the AGO team are finally back from AGO 4. Apparently it was cold and windy the whole time. The weather station I helped install at the AGO is up and working and so are the space weather instruments. The AGO team will soon be moving on to a new AGO site to visit and repair and I will try to keep you posted on their progress!