Newshub

New Zealand’s massive earthquake left three cows stranded on 'quake island'

Everything around them just disappeared.

BEC CREW
15 NOV 2016
 

Helicopter footage captured over the demolished farmlands outside the New Zealand town of Kaikoura has revealed the fate of three cows after Monday's devastating magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

The three cows - including one very chill calf - managed to huddle together on a small patch of grass, as everything around them crumbled to form a tiny island.

 

"It was clear that the cows had slipped down on this big chunk of land," Newshub camera operator Chris Jones explained. "The cattle had obviously ridden these islands of land, and there's this group of cows suspended 20 feet [6 metres] in the air."

Jones estimates that the island is between 50 and 80 metres across.

While the trio would not have lasted long stuck on such a small area of grass, their owner counts them as lucky to have found a safe place amid the chaos.

The Kaikoura farmer, who has chosen to remain anonymous, told Newshub he managed to save 14 cows in total (including these three), but did lose a few in the destruction.

"We did lose stock, there were stock losses, but the whole hillside fell during the earthquake and we had a lot of stock on there - we don't know what we've got," he said.

 

"It was very steep limestone bluff covered in lovely pasture a week ago and now it's all in the gully."

The good news is that while the cows had to stay put for a day while the safety of the area was assessed, they’ve now been rescued, and the internet can breathe a sigh of relief that our favourite cow buddies are in safe hands once again.

"The problem was we weren't sure if there was going to be another earthquake, and we weren't sure if it was going to continue to slide - that's why we delayed going in. It wasn't because we didn't want to," the farmer told Newshub.

"We dug a track with a number of people - the soil was quite soft because it had all been tipped over and bumbled around, we managed to get a track in and bring them out."

While the cows got out of the ordeal more or less unscathed, two people have died, and more than 1,000 have been separated from their homes on the South Island of the country.

Several aftershocks at magnitude 6.0 or higher have been rumbling through the area too, and Kaikoura has been left without functioning roads, trains, of water supplies. 

The initial quake was so massive, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), more than 18,000 km away in Switzerland, registered a 0.1-mm 'wobble':

"Even though Switzerland is on the other side of the world from New Zealand, the shaking from our big earthquake clearly threw the particles inside the LHC off-track, even though the tremor would have been completely imperceptible to a human being," Auckland University physicist Richard Easther told the New Zealand Herald.

Unfortunately, this might not even be the end of the destruction for the locals, with experts cautioning that the strength of the aftershocks could be indications of another earthquake - and it could occur at any time in the next 30 days.

"We currently calculate a 12 percent probability of a magnitude 7 or larger earthquake within the next day, and 32 percent within the next 30 days," John Ristau at GNS Science, New Zealand’s geoscience research and consultancy firm, told New Scientist.

"An earthquake like this can increase the risk of a major earthquake nearby, although it can also decrease stress on a nearby fault and lessen the risk."

Stay safe out there, everyone. Hopefully that second earthquake fails to appear and the locals can start putting their lives back together soon.

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