Whole Lot of Shaking Going On

Fred and I jolted awake this morning around 5:30 a.m. thanks to an earthquake just off the coast of Okinawa.

Above and below are maps from USGS (click here) that shows the location of the quake.  We live north of Naha on the west coast near where you see the first peninsula jut out.  The orange square is the epicenter.  USGS is reporting a 7.0 magnitude, but I've seen other websites reporting it as a 7.3.  It is approximately 50 miles from us.

Being from Florida, I had never experienced an earthquake before.  Fortunately for me, however, I've done a lot of reading about earthquakes because they are my number one fear.  I blame this extreme fear on a ouija board telling me while I was at a childhood slumber party that I would die in an earthquake.  I actually briefed Fred on earthquake safety when I first arrived in Okinawa because I knew how seismic it was.  Yes, I am that afraid/paranoid.  Tip: don't play with ouiji boards.   

As I jolted awake, it only took me a split second to realize what was happening.  All I could think of was the ouija board prediction!  My immediate response was to leap out of bed and run downstairs, all the while yelling "earthquake! earthquake!" to make sure Fred knew what was going on.  

Once I was safely on the front porch, Fred was following behind me half-dazed as I called for the dogs to follow.  They didn't seem to understand what was going on, but followed anyway.  I would have liked to have seen a faster response time from the dogs.  We'll have to work on that.  And as suddenly as it began, the shaking stopped.

I had no concept of how long the shaking lasted.  News reports indicated it was approximately 15 seconds.  What I remember most specifically is the sound I heard.  It was an eerie, deep rumbling sound.  Afterwards, I asked Fred what woke him up first - the earthquake or me hysterically yelling "earthquake!!"  He thinks it was the earthquake first. 

As for damage, there is none to report at our house.  Our home, like most Okinawan homes, is constructed of reinforced concrete.  Apparently, concrete does well in earthquakes up to a certain point, after which it can become so stressed that it fails completely and breaks.  It's not like the wood-framed homes that are built to sway with the quakes.  But the main reason for the concrete here is to protect against typhoons.

I was amazed how quickly the American news outlets reported the quake as I got online to check it out.  I saw the AP was looking for someone in Okinawa to give an account, so I called their office in D.C.  They seemed happy to be talking to someone in Okinawa, but disappointed by my lackluster account of the event.  I think they were hoping for more carnage than actually occurred.  Sorry to disappoint you, AP, but I'm still alive. 

No comments:

Post a Comment