Monday, April 11, 2011

We really, really can't catch a break

Breaking news of a 震度6弱 earthquake that, once again, rocked Fukushima. I felt it a bit here in 鶴見, but I'm sure it was nothing compared to what they felt.

Naturally, immediately after the news breaks in to regularly scheduled programming and we have video feeds of what it looked like near the epicenter within about 20 minutes.

Go go technology.

The TEPCO guys are on TV answering questions from reporters about how this latest quake affected the plant and the on-going work to secure the nuclear fuel.

Man I'm tired of these things. At this point, it's a conditioned response - I'm not afraid for my own physical well-being so much as I fear for my wife and daughter.

Where are they? Are they safe? Do they need help?

Questions always running through your mind. And with a few days respite - you start to think, "ok this part of the world has exhausted it's ire and another part of the world is up for the next round of natural disasters."

And then BAM. It hits you again.

The biggest question of all is always, "Is it just getting started this time?"

Earthquakes build. They don't hit with sudden force, they "wake up". I'm not a geologist, but I can imagine in my head that when two tectonic plates rub together, the shift that creates an earthquake is not a spontaneous lurching from position A to position B, but a grinding from start to finish. As the grinding begins, it makes logical sense that the intensity may pickup if the plates hit a small area of less friction or if the force of the initial movement literally grinds smooth a tiny portion of the plate, I could imagine how for a few seconds the newly freed (from friction) plates would slide suddenly and forcefully.

Regardless - the very beginning of an earthquake is always an awakening of the Earth in way that you know is natural on an Earthly-scale, but utterly foreign within the scope of our human senses.

The people here are very accustomed to earthquakes. They don't ignore them - ever, but there is a general sense of the Earth rolling from time to time being a part of life in Japan. That comfort zone is still very foreign to me. As soon as I feel the Earth begin to wake up, I start thinking "how big will this one get?" and automatically assume this time the ground will split open and all the denizens of Hell will descend upon us. And by "denizens of Hell" I mean a ton of molten rock and ash raining death upon the land. Hellish enough by any standard - Biblical or Scientific.

That particular experience is not on my bucket list.

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