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Still shaking?

10/01/2013

It is funny how this weekly writing challenge fits perfectly with one of my recent experiences.

Two days ago, on Wednesday January 8 at about 16:16h local time, I was lying on my bed pretending to study when it suddenly started shaking. I was surprised and thought of my neighbors having some fun in their own beds or a heavy truck passing by on the nearby street. But then it struck me as I saw the windows and walls shaking as well: This was an earthquake!

I ran into the living room where my flat mate was sitting with the puppy. In the living room it was not perceptible at all. As I told her, she looked up at the lamp. It was peacefully dangling from one side to the other. It was an earthquake. We waited for it to be over. It only lasted about half a minute. As I saw my flat mate all relaxed and as I noticed that nothing major happened, I did not panic. However, this was the first time I ever experienced something like this. In Germany, earthquakes are not common and we only hear about them in the news, with horrible scenes of devastation and many casualties shown.

I started some research on what might have been the cause of the earthquake and found its location somewhere in the Aegean Sea (A), at about 200km from İzmir (B), where I am living.

Here you can see it on the map:

To localize the place in the sea on Google Maps, I typed in the coordinates “39.75, 25.8” which I found on a website reporting on the earthquake.

I also found out that this earthquake was said to have had a magnitude of 6.2 and that it took place at about 10km below the water surface. It proves that the Anatolian plate is under pressure and that there might be more earthquakes in the future. I also discovered that an active volcano was recently detected in the Aegean Sea and that this might also be causing earthquakes. It is said that there has been a series of aftershocks after the earthquake I experienced. But I have not felt any of them.

After this experience, I wanted to know what to do in the worst case. I now certainly know that my room would not be the safest place. And I have noticed that we do not have any proper tables under which to seek shelter. The small IKEA tables in the living room definitely do not count. Staying away from windows and seeking bearing walls and door frames is recommended. In any case it is important to remain calm and not to leave the building, if you are inside, until the earthquake has stopped. Otherwise you might get hurt by falling objects.

I may get myself one of those emergency whistles. I hope nothing will ever happen. But it is better to be prepared.

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4 Comments
  1. Always good to be prepared!

    I find it interesting how much we grow accostomed to the things we experience in our youth. I grew up in a town that has several (small) earthquakes on a weekly basis. Some we would feel and some we wouldn’t and some were big enough to actually make national news. But, because I grew up with them I was never worried about them. However, I can’t imagine living anywhere where they have to deal with tornados or hurricanes or anything like that…

    • You’re right. It’s all a matter of perspective. Some places have to deal with tornados, fires, sand storms or other kinds of natural catastrophes on a regular basis. If you are used to it, you learn how to live with it, somehow, I guess.

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