Occupational Health & Safety

Aftershocks Still Damaging Christchurch Cathedral

The plan remains to deconstruct it. Leaders of the Anglican diocese and architects are touring some of the world's great cathedrals to develop ideas for rebuilding.

Visiting the fabulous La Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona impressed the delegation from Christchurch, New Zealand's Anglican diocese, who are visiting 12 great cathedrals around the world to develop ideas for rebuilding their own. A February 2011 earthquake damaged the Christchurch cathedral so badly that diocesan officials decided to "deconstruct" it down to a level of 2-3 meters for safety reasons.

They reported it suffered additional damage from a 5.2 aftershock May 25: "Since Friday there is more noticeable bowing in the walls, especially towards the southern end of the Cathedral. More stone has also fallen. This aftershock was in the range forecast by the scientific experts. The proposed plans for deconstruction of the Cathedral, in terms of safety, have to take into account this ongoing seismic activity," one of the reports states.

Modern tower cranes and workers wearing PPE are raising the Sagrada Familia spires ever higher.

The deconstruction plan has not yet been approved; it will take more than a year. Besides architect Antonio Gaudi's unfinished masterpiece in Barcelona, the delegation is visiting St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London and Coventry Cathedral; the Jubilee Church in Rome; the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, Calif., which was built after the previous cathedral was damaged in the October 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake; and two strikingly different San Francisco cathedrals -- the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption and Grace Cathedral. The diocese is posting comments from members of the delegation about them to keep parishioners informed.

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