Earthquakes scare me. I have had the experience of living through a number of them, but they were just small ones compared to the 8.9 in Japan yesterday. So I can only imagine what those people are going through. The live shots of the helicopter hovering over the farm fields and airport, looking at the wave of advancing water taking down everything its path, was chilling. The Tsunami was terrifying in its own right.
My very first Earthquake that I felt was a very long time ago when I was about Six or Seven years old. It happened at night while living up in Terrace, BC, and it shook me while I was in bed. It made lots of noise, enough to wake me up when I heard the dishes rattle and the house groan and creek as it swayed back and forth. Thankfully that quake only lasted a few seconds and was minor, but it was violent enough that it woke up everyone in the house.
I then experienced another one in Toronto back in 1988 as I was eating. I told everyone about it, but no believed me as it was very small, just enough move the pictures on the wall. When it was published on the news, then everyone seemed to have felt it. But that Earthquake was gentle compared to all the others I felt.
Then the next biggest one I felt was when I moved back up to Terrace around 1990. And again I was eating when it happened. The whole house stared shaking. That quake lasted for about twenty-five seconds, and like the other daytime quakes, almost everyone around me never felt it. I phoned my friend next door about it, and he said he never felt it. It was not until we heard on the radio that indeed there was a quake, he accused me of over-reacting, and said that I needed to check my home’s foundation as the termites were eating it away.
Then in March of 2004 while I was working for a Big Box Store in Port Kells, aka, Langley-Township in the Metro Vancouver area, that I felt the longest, and perhaps the most strongest, quake ever. I was one of the first few who ran out of the building while almost everyone else was still inside-working or freaking out. Some were still actually working, claiming that there was no quake. One woman told me that there could not have been that big of a quake because she never felt it. It was not until I showed her the lights up in the ceiling swinging back and forth like mad that she realized that there was an Earthquake. She then turned real while with fear.
The only thing that I never have experienced, and I hopefully never will, is a tsunami. The television images are hunting of what happened in Japan last night. Between this and the December 2004 tsunami, I am humbled at that level of destruction caused by nature.
I found out about the Earthquake while on Twitter. According to my Twitter Feed, I first noticed my tweeps texting about it just Twelve minutes after the quake took place and the tsunami warnings were issued. Everyone said “look at the news.” When I turned on CBC News, it was a re-run of the evening news. Then I switched over to CNN, and there it was, live, the wave hitting the coast. CBC did not catch on until well after an hour after the quake took place—they need to work on that.
The Pacific Plate (Yellow) is moving underneath Japan (Red) about 200km off the Eastern coast at a speed of about 8cm per year. The plate snags over time, and then suddenly moves causing the Earth to quake, which causes the tsunami.