Sunday, January 4, 2009
Sometimes Mother Nature's Rude!
Sometimes Mother Nature can be so rude. You know, like when she decides to "shake things up a bit" in the middle of the night. There I was, sound asleep and having a really nice dream. Then this voice says, “Will you quit shaking me?”
Um…well…it was my voice. My head bounced against the wall as I opened my eyes to my bed shaking. I lay there in the shaking house thinking how I really didn’t want to go out into the snow at 00:53 in the morning. Well, maybe it will stop soon. About a minute later with a final shudder, the quake was over. Ok, now that I’m up I’ll go outside into the snow to go to the “necessary.” Yes, to get to mine I have to go outside and down the walkway in the courtyard about 25 feet.
It was still snowing, but since the ground temperature has been so warm, it was a very wet snow on the ground and the snow wasn’t sticking to the walkway. Once back in bed I wondered about where the epicenter had been. I already had the feeling that it was a deep quake, they are most common around here and not really that bad…as long as you aren’t at the epicenter…as long as you aren’t in the mountains where avalanches are a real possibility...as long as you don't live in mud-brick house clinging to the side of a mountain.
We probably won’t know about casualties for some time since the epicenter was in a very remote part of Badakhshan province in the northeastern part of the country. The region has almost no roads and the mountains are high and rugged (to put it mildly). On the plus side, it is also very sparsely populated.
According to the USGS, the quake was 5.9 and 220.8 km deep. It was felt in all three capitols shown on the map below.
Several of the Afghans I work with live in the "cliff houses" I've shown here from time to time. For them the event was a tad more exciting than for those of us on the valley floor.