Ken Ring supporters: 'Told you so!'
Monday 21 Mar 2011 9:36 a.m.
The quake as it appears on www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz
By Dan Satherley
Last night an aftershock rattled Canterbury, bringing a chorus of 'told you so' from supporters of astrological weather forecaster Ken Ring.
But did the relatively middling quake – at least by Christchurch standards, at 5.1 – really prove the 'Moon Man' right?
His followers say yes. But according to his detractors, not at all.
"I think climate wacko Nic Smith (sic) owes Mr. Ring an apology, or does 5.1 not amount to much?" commented 3news.co.nz reader Paul P on our article last night.
"Strongest aftershock of 5.1 tonight in Christchurch gives credence to Ken Ring's theory," wrote Freda. "Good on him for warning people and I hope Nick Smith and his fellow sceptics were having a late lunch tonight - they'd have felt it up there! Where does that leave John Campbell?"
Much of the believers' wrath has been directed at Campbell Live's John Campbell, after the presenter's aggressive interview with Mr Ring a few weeks back.
Most comments posted on 3news.co.nz overnight were in support of Mr Ring, but elsewhere people weren't so easily spooked.
'Over on [Facebook] the ignorant are making themselves known with Ken Ring status updates," wrote user @RoperDope. "Time for an FB 'friends' list cull soon."
"A 5.1 causing virtually no damage doesn't make Ken Ring right!" wrote @DaniceDearborn.
So who's right?
The moon's closest approach to Earth, according to Mr Ring, would be at 9:44am, causing a quake soon before lunchtime. It would be directly over Spain, directly on the opposite side of the world. The quake actually happened at 9:47pm, just over 12 hours later.
Mr Ring said it would be somewhere in "Marlborough and N Canterbury". It occurred in central Canterbury, where there have been 5616 recorded quakes since September 4, an average of 28 a day.
He said it could a quake "for the history books". If this was indeed one for the history books, said books would consist of little more than minor earthquakes. There have been 18 measuring 5 or above since September 4 (excluding the 7.1 on that day), or one every 11 days.
In terms of the quake's power, it was miniscule compared to the September and March quakes. Last night's shake, at 5.1, released only 1/63 the power of the February quake, and only 1/1000 the energy of September's (click here to find out how these numbers are calculated).
One small dairy was damaged. There have been no reports of any injuries.
So it seems the aftershock has only strengthened the resolve of both sides of the debate – enough for the believers, but a bit too pedestrian for the sceptics.
Probably the least definitive answer we could have hoped for.