Yes, The Earth Moved
A little over a year ago, I posted Shake Rattle and Roll. Well, earthquake season is once again upon us here is Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and we are still all shook-up.
On Good Friday, April 18th, at 9:30am I was having my first cup of coffee, and opening my computer to see what the world had been doing. As I rested my foot on the wall I felt a quick, small shutter, and thought oh, a little tremor. Two seconds later my floor felt like I was riding a surf-board, and the walls were bobbing and weaving. My overhead light was swing directly above my head, and then the electricity went out. Thankfully, it was a beautiful morning in sunny Mexico, and I had my doors open so I jumped into the door-frame (Well, that is what they used to advise during an earthquake) and there I stood like a zombie. I really wonder where my brain goes during a quake because I always have these great plans for the next one, but I never carry through with one on my list of great life-saving ideas. I always thought I’d grab my computer first thing, because I love it so much—but, I didn’t, and it was right in front of my nose. My passport, money, and a bottle of water were also ignored. In reality, it is almost impossible to do much of anything when the floor is moving and you are lucky to just stand. My thoughts were wow, this is a big one, and I hope it doesn’t get bigger. My plan was if it got worse I’d grab onto the tree directly in front of the door, and then swing down into our bare parking-lot where there were no electric wires nor tall building to fall on me. Well, in 30 seconds it was over, and I didn’t have to use my escape route. Thirty seconds had never seemed so long. I thought it must have lasted two or three minutes. This was the biggest earthquake I have ever experienced, and hope to not do a repeat of. This sucker registered 7.2 with the epicenter only a few kilometers away.
I guess 7.2 is a baby compared to the Good Friday Alaskan quake in 1964. That devastating monster registered 9.2 and lasted four minutes. It was the second largest quake ever recorded, and set off a tsunami that hit California and Oregon. We were lucky not to have to contend with a tsunami, but for a short period of time there was a warning, and police and navy were directing people away from the beach.
After my senses returned I noticed a lot of broken dishes and glass on the floor so I took a minute to clean it before I decided to join all my neighbors on the street. When I went to go down the stairs there were a dozen or so pigeons that stood frozen in place, and would not move. I quickly returned to my patio because birds and animals are much more alert to disaster than we are, and I felt that we may have more ahead of us. There were no birds in my trees, and my humming bird feeder went unused for two days while we had several after-shocks. The last couple of days we have had three or four new quakes from different areas, but still close-by. Today, the birds are back in my trees, and thankfully my hummingbird feeders need a refill.
I think the destruction was slight considering 7.2 in classified as a significant quake. A few hotels suffered cracks in their building, many streets were littered with roof-tiles, some windows were broken, and a few stores were closed due to damage. The largest grocery store had to close due to broken bottles and thousands of cans in their aisles. One of the newest building in the centro area crumbled, but the old ones survived. All in all, we’re in really good shape for the shape we’re in.