Wednesday, August 24, 2011

地震!The Great Quake That Wasn't

If you live in California or Japan, you know about earthquakes and the dangers they bring about. In earthquake zones and particularly on along the Ring of Fire they are a fact of everyday life and in many cases no laughing matter. Any quake over a 5.5 is a cause for concern but not for dire panic. On the otherhand, in the general sense of US East Coast residents more accustomed to hurricanes, earthquakes register on the bottom of expected natual disaters to hit the region. In fact there are no earthquake drills or any preperations of any kind there. So when the reports of the US Pentagon being evacuated and hundreds of paniced calls to emergency service after a 5.8 quake hit the news, it amused those of us living in earthquake country how much panic this non-tragedy caused.

The media here has a knack for over sensationalizing minor non-tragic events. But before anyone has laugh at the expense of people unaccustomed to earthquakes under 6.0 or higher, take into consideration that in Japan and in California buildings are constructed to meet strict earthquake building codes which are non-existant in the US East Coast. Whereas in the West Coast or in Japan where a building would roll and sway with the quake as designed, the buildings in the East Coast are more likely to shake violently. As rockstar Sansei physicist Dr. Michio Kaku pointed out on ABC News, plate tectonics of the region differ from California whereas a quake would run along fault lines, the East Coast is on one big solid sheet meaning a relatively small quake could be felt as far away as Georgia to Toronto Canada. Luckily no one was hurt and only minor damage was reported. Compared to the recent quakes in Japan, Chile, & Haiti which brought about much death and devestation. We are happy that no one lost their life and damage was realatively minor. But with the way the media has overplayed it here, this minor quake will be remembered as The Great Quake That Wasn't.

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