Monday, July 16, 2007
There was just a rather large earthquake out here this morning - the 6.7 magnitude epicenter was on the other side of Honshu in Niigata about 150 miles or so away, but I still felt it! As you can see from the map so did at least half the country, but anything below the light green isn't even really worth getting up for and the white areas aren't even noticeable. They're still broadcasting about it on tv an hour and a half later, and there have been at least 8 aftershocks closer to the center. Videos they're showing are with broken water manes flowing through the streets and at least one or 2 older buildings totally collapsed... also, a few random cracks in the earth, and there are currently 200ish injured. These things still freak me out, so I'm really glad it wasn't out here!
So how strong is a high 6 you ask? Well Japan has their own scale to measure things separate from the Richter scale called shindo - basically, the difference is that Richter is based on the energy released and shindo is based on the amount felt in any particular area. Here's the breakdown on what each level feels like and my interpretation:
0: Imperceptible to people (did somebody fart?)
1: Felt by some people indoors (something's not right here....)
2: Felt by many people indoors. Slight shaking of hanging lamps (hold everything, feels like a shaker! this is what I felt this time)
3: Felt by most people indoors. Can cause plates to rattle (this would be the point at which I start to freak, as it's about the strongest I've ever really felt. These wake me up)
4: Most sleeping people awake. Unstable items indoors may fall. Felt by most walking people and some in cars. (this would be the point that most reasonable people would stand in a doorway or something - I'm still frozen in fear clenching my butt cheeks)
weak 5: Furniture may move. Books and dishes may fall. Glass may shatter. Could cause some structural damage in older buildings and softer earth. (Feels like Ryu and Ken are simultaneously dragon-punching the building, shaking it to it's core)
strong 5: Large vending machines and shelves may topple over. Driving becomes difficult. Some gas/water manes may break. (Vending machines may what??? I think I just saw Mothra fly by the window...)
weak 6: Difficult to stay standing. Window glass and tiles break. Doors won't open. Sometimes weaker houses collapse, and stronger ones may take damage as well.(Oh my God, we're all gonna die! Godzilla is battling Mothra and Godzilla just got tossed into the building next door.)
strong 6: People can only crawl to move, because standing becomes impossible. Most heavy furniture falls, and doors fly off their hinges. (Son Goku has just gone Super Saiya-jin level 2 - he and Vegita are in a battle of truly epic proportions that is shaking the world to its core. I think I'm dying!!)
7+: People can't move at will. The ground cracks open, landslides occur. Strong buildings take severe damage. (God hates us all - as Lucifer reaches up from the depths of hell opening large rifts in the earth, God's hand has just come down from heaven to squish Goku and quell the maelstrom, taking us all with him. After crapping my pants, I die... or maybe it's the other way around)
I seriously hope a truly major one never hits around me, but one is definitely overdue. Or at least so everyone keeps telling me. Then again, everyone was all worried about a typhoon that killed 4 and was supposed to come through here this weekend too. We got some rain, but if you didn't tell me it was the after-effects of a typhoon I wouldn't have known. Oh, and did I mention there were also smaller tidal waves due to the quake? Well, I'm around to live another day for now, but God still hates Japan. And with that, back to your regularly scheduled life.
EDIT: Just to update people, there have been aftershocks throughout the day of varying strengths, but nothing to be concerned about in my immediate area. The final count that I heard was 7 dead out in Niigata though. There was just a quake of the exact same strength off the coast north of Kyoto that somehow shook us here just as strong as the one this morning, but again no immediate danger here.
Here's an article on it from CNN as well as Japan Probe coverage. In addition to the quake, CNN also reports that the world's highest output nuclear power plant, which happens to be in Kashiwazaki, Niigata very close to the epicenter, took 2 hours to put out fires resulting from the quake.