Sunday, December 26, 2004

earth shudders

An 8.9 magnitude earthquake centered near Indonesia was reported earlier today. Wow. I didn't know they came that big. It sounds like over 6,000 people have been reported killed so far, either by the earthquake or its resulting tsunamis. Most of the casualties were in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India.

Thoughts:
- The largest earthquake I remember hearing about (ever) was the 8.3 magnitude event centered in Hokkaido last year. Then again, I don't have a great memory for these things; it's not really the kind of event you like to remember.
- The last earthquake of personal significance to me was the "9-21" Taiwan quake; magnitude 7.6. I remember cursing the jammed phone lines.
- The largest earthquake I personally experienced was the 7.0 Loma Prieta quake. I was 80 miles away from the epicenter, and it was quite enough excitement already.
- I was curious, so I looked up the devastating 1906 San Francisco quake. Its magnitude was estimated at 7.8. However, much of the damage was caused by fire.

A couple of months ago we had a 5.0 (or so) tremor in the Bay Area. I made fun of a friend who was excited about his "first earthquake", and told him that if he had to ask other people if they felt it, it wasn't a real earthquake. In retrospect, given my affinity for earthquake-prone regions, I should shut my mouth, not to mention knocking on wood, throwing some salt over my left shoulder, and crossing all my fingers and toes...

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