Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chilean Earthquake

So the big news from the weekend (other than the USA/Canada gold medal hockey game) came when a major earthquake hit the western edge of Chile.  From the New York Times:
RIO DE JANEIRO — A deadly, 8.8-magnitude earthquake struck central Chile early Saturday, collapsing buildings, shattering major bridges and highways across a long swath of the country, and sending tsunami warnings along the entire Pacific basin. 
Chile’s TVN cable news channel reported 122 deaths less than 12 hours after the quake struck. The death toll was expected to rise, particularly around Concepci√≥n, Chile’s second-largest metropolitan area, which is roughly 70 miles from the quake’s center.
(...)
In Hawaii, officials were preparing to evacuate low-lying tourism areas and scheduled a statewide tsunami alert hours ahead of the tsunami swell’s expected arrival around 11:05 a.m.
This is of interest to me because one of my coworkers was in Hawaii on vacation for the past week.  She and her husband are set to head home today after spending a week vacationing in the tropical paradise.  So, along with any souvenirs they pick up, they'll also bring back with them the experience of living through a tsunami evacuation.

One of the many ways that technology continually amazes me is that I received real-time updates on my coworker's situation via her Facebook page every once in a while, letting everyone who cares about her well-being know how they were faring.  She reported that the hotel's evacuation plan was to get "vertical" so they "evacuated" to their room until the tsunami had passed.  She also noted that their hotel was near a marina and all of the vessels were leaving the dock and heading out to sea until the tsunami passes.  She ended the day with an update that it looked like the warning/evac was coming to a close without any damage.

And it seems that I wasn't the only one who was relying on first-person accounts to get the (most important to me) information about the situation.  One news viewer noted that "Much of the reporting was from citizen journalists via webcams, Skype, and Ustream.  Meanwhile, anchors were regularly referring to information coming to them by social networking websites such as Twitter."

What a fascinating age/era/time we live in.

(Also fascinating is this animation from the NOAA that shows how the Pacific Ocean reacted to an earthquake in northern Chile in 2007.)

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SONG:  "Dixie Chicken" by Little Feat

LOOKING FORWARD TO:  getting back into the daily dog walking routine.  The guy is getting cabin fever.  This was the first weekend in a long while that the sidewalks have been clear of (most) snow and ice and the temp has been above freezing, so, today and yesterday, he and I walked down to the RedBox to rent some movies, which he LOVED!

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