Magnitude 6.2

At 1:19 PST, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck off the coast of British Columbia. Today’s shaker was 200 Km. west – south – west of Bella Bella on B.C.’s coast, not far from the magnitude 7.2 of last October – that earthquake being the second largest recorded in Canadian history. Canada’s largest recorded quake hails from the same region; the 1949 Queen Charlotte earthquake measured 8.1 on the Richter scale. Science tells us far larger earthquakes took place before  seismographic instruments were developed. The Cascadia quake of 1700, estimated at a magnitude 9 or higher.

Unlike the quake last October no tsunami warnings were issued. Several after shocks registering as much as 5.5 have followed without raising an eyebrow. My guess being; the majority of B.C. residents haven’t even heard there was an earthquake.

Few residents of south western B.C. are unaware of predictions for a long overdue “big one”, the only ones who seem prepared in any way are school children. At the start of each school year kids have to put together an “earthquake pack”. Their pack contains emergency numbers, a letter of comfort from parents, water, any medication needed, and non perishable food. Schools store these packs in a metal shed on the edge of their property – far removed from school buildings. Earthquake drills are as frequent as fire drills – stop, drop, and cover becoming second nature.

About ten years ago my son was home sick from school. We were laying on my bed in the middle of the afternoon when I turned to him and said “stop shaking the bed”.He turned to me, without missing a beat, calm as the day was long and said “Mom, look at the door, we’re having an earthquake” Sure enough, my bedroom door was swaying back and forth. Another time I was making dinner when the kitchen window rattled – hours later the news reported an earthquake; not in a million years had it crossed my mind that anything other than a large truck had rattled that glass.

Despite predictions, earthquakes are the last thing on most people’s minds. I doubt the latest 6.2 will change a thing. For myself it stands as a reminder not to be so vacant when the bed shakes or window rattles. Time to take a look at my emergency supplies and offer a link to the post I put up after the last earthquake.

Stop Procrastinating – Consider 26 Weeks to Emergency Ready

While Hurricane Sandy is the story today, lets not forget the earthquake in B.C. on Saturday. The massive 7.7 was the third largest ever recorded in Canada. Scores of aftershocks, some as high as 6.4 continue to shake the Pacific coast.

Most people think of themselves as invincible. The not in my backyard attitude is simply not going to prepare anyone for the unexpected. We are given a few days warning to prepare for a major storm. I can guarantee that other than stocking up on water and canned food or batteries: most people wouldn’t have a clue where to begin. If a major earthquake hit a populated area, ponder getting by with no emergency plan or supplies.

Time to stop procrastinating. This is an easy way to find a starting place, a way to spread out the cost, and the perfect platform to involve your entire family.The link below gives you a task a week for 26 weeks.


Hurricane Felix by NASA

Italian Earthquake Justice?

On April 6, 2009 a magnitude 6.9 earthquake destroyed the city of L’Aquila Italy. Striking at 3:32 AM most people were asleep. Hundreds were injured, 309 were killed, 65,000 buildings were damaged or reduced to rubble. For months leading up to this night low level tremors had plagued the region. On March 31, 2009 a meeting of the Great Risks Commission was called to discuss the growing number of tremors. Seven scientists in attendance went on record saying, historically the region was prone to seismic activity, there was no way to predict the “big one”, consequently no evacuation order was issued.

After the tragedy, it was on these points that prosecutors charged the 7 with manslaughter. Today Italian courts found them guilty. They were  sentenced to 6 years in prison, and banned for life from ever holding a government position.

They will of course appeal the decision.  The scientists had no crystal ball, there is no way to predict an earthquake  and ultimately the decision was not theirs. I suppose in hindsight the officials could have erred on the side of caution. To single them out and successfully convict them of manslaughter is mind boggling.

People walk past collapsed buildings near L'Aquila, Italy in after an deadly earthquake in April 2009. Seven scientists were found guilty of manslaughter Monday for failing to sufficiently warn residents of the quake.

Photo – Alessandra Tarantino AP