Tuesday 22 February 2011

No Lasting Shock.

As in geology, the present is the key to the past, so with the media quake over
Christchurch’s recent devastating earthquake  ongoing it seems prudent to see how
interested people were in geology last time this happened. A similar, although less devastating event occoured in September 2010. Which resulted in There is a massive peak in searches for ‘christchurch earthquake’ (blue) in September of last year, presumably due to this: http://bit.ly/gKU4Ht. The red line demonstrates searches for ‘earthquake causes’  which gives no change at the September 
Search volume for Christchurch Earthquake (Blue)
Earthquake causes (Red)

Comparing these results to other terms, such as ‘seismic’ or ‘plate tectonics’ there is a
similar story (see diagram below);  In fact looking at a variety of terms related to the quake (Canterbury Plains, ring of fire, pacific plate) do not have any alteration in their search patterns at the time of the event.

Search Volume for:
Blue: Christchurch Earthquake
Red: Plate Tectonics
Orange: Seismic
Even today, where the 10th most searched term in the English speaking world is ‘Christchurch
Earthquake’ (Aelxa) it is beaten by Justin Biebers new hair cut and the ever popular Rihanna. There has, to present been no change in search traffic for geologic concepts.  If someone does search for the terms highlighted above there is plenty of really good information, from a variety of sources – even if people don’t look for it after an earthquake

What are we to learn from this? Well simply, people want to know the story, but do not want to know how it works. As previously discussed in this blog, people are interested in the stories of people. Not rocks.

Finally, my thoughts go out to the People of Christchurch. I wish you all the best during this time.