I remember being awaken in the middle of the night and seeing my whole room shake up and down hearing things crashing down to the floor. Half-asleep, at first it took me a while to process it that I was experiencing an earthquake but once it fully sunk in, my only thought was “when will this be over?” because it seemed like an eternity. Back then, we were living in the same house with my Grandmother, so my Dad told me to go check on her. The power was completely out, so I grabbed a flashlight and quickly rushed to check her room, which she shared with one of my aunts. I asked them if they were okay. They were of course terrified, crying; I had never seen someone that scared. I told them I’d go check on others and be right back. What would follow would be equally scary: finding out all the destruction around you and all over Southern California. Going to the grocery story and finding them closed because all their products had fallen off the shelves and were splattered all over the floor. Spending over a week going through aftershocks that felt like the whole ground was sinking right below you with you on it. Having your heart race every time you thought the ground moved a little.
That was in Southern California, during the Northridge Earthquake of ’94, which was 6.7 in magnitud. I can’t even begin to imagine an earthquake in 8.8 magnitude, which is exactly what happened in Chile yesterday and some are now saying that it terms of scale, it was 100 times stronger than the Northridge one and released 500 times more energy than the recent Haiti earthquake.
President Obama announced yesterday that he was closely monitoring the situation and expressed his support for the people of Chile:
For more information on the White House’s reaction, you can visit their site here.
Also of concern, is that it looks like the aftermath of the quake not only involves aftershocks but tsunamis on American soil. Heal the Bay reports:
Tsunami Advisory In Effect for U.S. West Coast due to Strong Chilean Earthquake
Posted: February 27, 2010
A tsunami advisory is in effect which includes coastal areas from the CA-Mexican border to Alaska. The advisory is the result of a massive 8.8 earthquake off the Pacific coast of Chile, about 60 miles northwest of the city of Chillan.
According the the National Weather Service, those in the advisory areas should move out of the water, off the beach and out of harbors and marinas.
A tsunami advisory means that a tsunami capable of producing strong currents or waves is expected. Widespread water inundation is NOT anticipated.
Tsunamis are a series of waves that are potentially dangerous several hours after the initial arrival time. Estimated times of arrival for CA locations are as follows:
La Jolla: 12:02pm Newport Beach: 12:12pm San Pedro: 12:15pm Santa Monica: 12:25pm Santa Barbara: 12:31pm San Francisco: 1:26pmMore: West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center Tsunami Advisory Issued for California Coast After Chile Quake – LAist Chile earthquake update: Heed local officials, Obama tells Americans – CNN
In the midst of all this, my heart goes out to our hermanos y hermanas de Chile. Chilenos y Chilenas estamos con ustedes!
Update: photos from Chile are starting to come in. To view some, click here.
Update #2: looks like Hawaii “dodged a bullet”; now there’s concerns with Japan facing tsunamis; here’s the story. Also, here’s an interesting analysis of how the earthquake damages and response has differed between Chile and what happened previously over in Haiti.