16 December 2008

An Earthshaking Experience

Tuesday morning I woke up as my bed was shaking. No, not just my bed: the whole building was moving and the window panes were making a strange, rattling sound. When I looked at my clock radio I noticed it was ‘dancing’ around on my bedside table. What the ….?! Then, it was quiet for a few seconds before the vibrations started again.

I figured lots of things were possible. Perhaps a gas explosion? Or maybe a truck ran into our building? No, that would have had to be eight or ten trucks to last that long, and there really aren’t that many of them around here, anyway. I ran through a few possibilities and discarded all of them, including the theory that it must be my upstairs neighbour who kept a medium size pet elephant which was in the process of learning how to dance flamenco. The following day I heard that the 5-year-old daughter of one of my friends thought it was Santa Claus flying by their house! The one thing that never crossed my mind was that it might have been an earthquake. Even the dancing elephant seemed more realistic than an earthquake in my part of the world. But it was, in fact, an earthquake.
I haven't seen any amateur film clips of the incident, which may not be all that surprising, considering the fact that it happened at 06:20 a.m., but here's a news clip from DR 1/Update mentioning the quake. The Swedish radio host in the clip exclaims in his live radio broadcast that it felt like an earthquake, but then adds with a laugh that it couldn't possible have been.

Watch the news clip at DR Update.

It’s not the first earthquake have experienced, but certainly the first one I experienced at home. The epicentre was near Ystad in Sweden, about 65 km from Copenhagen. The quake reached 4.7 on the Richter scale. For people who live in areas of the world in which they have serious earthquakes, 4.7 won’t really seem like anything at all. But for those of us who are used to the ground staying where it is, it was a lot! In comparison, the tremors caused by the collapsing twin towers in NYC were 2.1 on the Richter scale. We are surrounded by water and I have occasionally been on sailing boats which were tossed around at the mercy of mother nature. That’s what we can expect. But I would appreciate if the ground under me stays where it is, thanks.

They are inspecting the tunnel & bridge across the Sound between Denmark and Sweden for structural damages. I did not hear about any serious damages or injuries. Just minor cuts and bruises when falling pictures hit people in bed, etc. There was one casualty, though: a turtle called Mimi was killed by a falling cupboard. R.I.P.

Earth Times
Copenhagen Post

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