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Thursday, February 28, 2008

My First Earthquake Encounter

I've never experienced an earthquake until I moved to California. It is a frightening feeling that makes you renew your respect for mother nature. One month after we arrived here, I was reading a book in my uncle's house when the desk I was sitting at began to tremble. I thought I became dizzy, so I stood up. The whole room swayed slowly beneath my feet. The pictures on the wall started rattling, and the glass windows started shaking. I bolted to the door, ran to the main door, and exited the whole house. Everyone was sitting in the front yard as nothing was happening. I looked at them with shock. They looked at me and realized what was happening. "Oh, its ok. It's just an earthquake! We get plenty of them here. This is nothing. You should have seen Northridge's earthquake. Now thats a real one." My cousin said.

I became used to earthquakes. If it's a small one, I just continue whatever I am doing. If it's a bit stronger than usual, I find the nearest door and stand between its frames. I've even developed a sense of earthquakes. Something inside me realizes that they are going to happen seconds before they hit. My body becomes alert, my heart starts beating faster, and my breathing becomes shallow.

So far, the worst earthquake I had to go through did not pass 5.5 on the Richter scale. Nevertheless, we are living above the San Andrea Fault which, according to scientists, is waiting for a huge earthquake to happen, or as they like to call it "The Next Big One".

Professor Yuri Fialko from the University of California, San Diego says:
"The information available suggests that the fault is ready for the next big earthquake but exactly when the triggering will happen and when the earthquake will occur we cannot tell," Fialko said. "It could be tomorrow or it could be 10 years or more from now," he concluded.

I only hope that I will not go through anything like the 1995 earthquake in
Kobe, Japan. May God protect everyone:


kinzi said...

Hey Lulu! Thanks for the story!

Earthquakes are really different in Amman. Maybe because the reinforced concrete is less pliable, or that it seems houses are built into stone rather than soil. The one we had three years ago was really loud, it sounded like a train was going by outside.

Lulu said...


Thanks for your input. Most of the houses in California are built from wood and light materials to lessen the effects of earthquakes. If (god forbids) a big earthquake happens in Jordan, the results will be devastating compared to the same one happening here. Imagine people trapped under layers of stone, now thats scary.

kinzi said...

Lulu, LOL, I was mixing you up with Cafe Lulu in SD! I like your blog!

I'm a California native, veteran of many earthquakes and wooden houses that sway nicely to the rock-n-roll. I tell you, these houses here scare me NO end with the possibility of an earthquake, especially now that they are building them SO high.

Here, it seems the safest place is the 'triangle of safety', laying down next to a very sturdy object, not under it. Safer yet, just ask for God's mercy it wont happen. :)

Lulu said...

Thank you Kinzi. Yes, I became aware that there was another blog with a similar name a little bit too late, and I am just too lazy to change the name of mine :). I hope that God will have mercy on everyone. The government in Jordan should start thinking about earthquakes when they build their next projects.


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