Tuesday, December 26, 2006

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dancing christmas tree (aka earthquakes) *Updated* My Christmas tree danced twice tonight as the earth shook--HARD. We just had two very strong earthquakes about 10 minutes apart. Each had its own distinct feel. The first one was side to side and seemed to last a very long time. The second one was shorter but stronger--it was also distinctly up and down before going side to side. With the first one, nothing really happened. The second knocked some canisters off the top of my fridge. It was markedly more scary. The first one was at 8:26 and had a magnitude of 6.7 at the center which is south of where I live in HengChun (where Sam and I vacationed this summer). The second one was at 8:34 and had a magnitude of 6.4. This one was much closer to me--the epicenter was about 30 KM south of Kaohsiung City. There was also a smaller one on the east coast (4.7) just minutes (8:20) before the first one I felt. *Updated to add: The U.S. Geological Survey puts the first quake at 7.1 on the Richter scale and the second one at 7.0. And, I now see in the news that these first two were unusually long--over a minute each! We have also had (at least) two powerful aftershocks so far both with magnitudes over 5. In addition, so far there has been one reported death and 20 injuries. News reports can be found here, here, and here. Clicking on the maps in this post will take you to Taiwan's weather bureau for reports on recent earthquake activity in English. Know that I am ok. But, please continue to pray for safety. And, please pray for the Taiwanese people, many who undoubtly will be consumed with fear tonight.