Last night I experienced an earthquake for the first time. It was a small one, only 2 on the Shindo scale. ‘The what-scale’ you say? Don’t I mean Richter scale? After some research I found out that the Richter scale measures the energy released at the focus of the earthquake. The Shindo scale measures the intensity of shaking at any given location affected by the quake. For the geologists among you – I know there is at least one – the Shindo scale is similar to the Mercalli scale.
So, having put that straight, back to the story about the earthquake. As I said it was a small one but it was still impressive. I had heard descriptions of what an earthquake feels like but despite that, it was different from what I had imagined. How did it feel? For this I will have to refer back to those same descriptions for lack of better words: it felt like a gentle swinging from left to right, but not in a pleasant way. Or perhaps it felt like being at sea or the feeling you have when you’re lying in bed after having been in a swimming pool for the better part of a day.
In any case it made a big impression on me. I was also a bit scared. As the quake is going on, you have no idea whether it will get stronger or if this is it. It’s very unnerving to feel the earth and the building you live in move. For Europeans at least (and definitely Belgians), the earth is a source of stability. While rivers may overflow and fires may rage, the earth pretty much remains where it is. Somehow it offers a kind of security.
There is a big earthquake expected for this area (Nagoya area) in the not too distant future. The quake already has a name: the Tokai Earthquake. I hope it will not happen while we are here.
This article was featured on Freshly Pressed.
This article was submitted to J-festa, a blogging festival about Japan. Go to their site to read the other entries: http://japingu.com/2012/01/j-festa-2011-special-edition/