Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tribe of Earth Quakes in Japan

I have seen some comments about 'the' earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan.  In the back of my mind I knew that we are not talking about one quake and its devastation but a range: However, it is only after I saw this Google Earth animated video clip of the period 9-14 March 2011, that the real magnitude of the tragedy was clear. 

Latest Earthquakes shows all earthquakes with magnitude greater than 2.5 located by the USGS and contributing networks in the last week (168 hours). It is a scary view when you look at this picture of global earthquakes the past 8-30 day period:

I was born in the year of the biggest earth quake in South Africa, in September 1969, and my parents arrived in the area a year after to help the community rebuild their lives. It is recorded that on 29 September 1969 at exactly 22:05 people thought it was the end of the world as the mountains started to burn and a thunderous noise rocked the quiet town of Tulbach. Tremors followed throughout the night after the quake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale took the lives of 11 people (mostly children) and left thousands homeless. Looking at the ChristChurch earth quake of 6.3 on the scale, it was clearly a major seismic event on the fault line running via the Boland region.

Throughout my years in primary school we continued to do earth quake evacuation and had two minor quakes scaring the living day lights out of me. I remember looking at a crack running down the classroom wall from under the desk where I was hiding - and one of my friends wetting his pants :( Significantly, a few years later, we stopped with earth quake drills as the collective memory faded, and started with 'bomb scare' evacuations from the apartheid struggle - some times targeting schools in 'white' areas. Don't know which was worse in terms of the fear these instilled amongst us as children. I would lie if I say that it does not cross my mind: what if it happened again - there in my hometown where my mom now lives.

Today I have the people of Japan in my thoughts again. And especially the children that now fear the earth and the water, and how it could bring sadness upon their families...


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