Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Tremor makes for a rude awakening
Last night I was shaken awake in the middle of a deep sleep. Somehow I jumped out of bed. Everything was moving and rumbling. I debated...should I wake Dan? Should I grab the kids? What turned out to be only 76 seconds seemed like a long time, during which I envisioned ceilings falling or glass breaking any minute.
Later this morning we found out a tremor, estimated somewhere between 5.6 to 6 on the Richter scale, occurred just off the coast 50 kilometers north of Valparaíso at 4:03am. I asked my English class when a seismic occurrence is considered an earthquake versus a tremor. They responded that the foreigners call anything over "5" an earthquake and in Chile its a tremor until you hit "7"!
Either way, I was a bit shaken up, literally and figuratively. Chile sits over the convergence of the Nazca and South American plates and the rubbing of these tectonic plates causes releases of energy regularly. Up until now, the tremors have been mostly unnoticeable during the day and kind of novel for us at night. Last night was neither novel or unnoticeable, as I tried to get back to sleep and kept feeling my body moving either due to my imagination or aftershocks.
But I will say that it has been fun today to hear the "talk" of why Porteños (people from the port city) should have known it was coming...because the moon was red, because of the quick change in temperature (it was unseasonably hot this weekend), because of certain alignments of interstellar objects! Good stuff. :-)