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Philippine Scene #17 - Earthquake and How to Prepare for it
Beliefs of Ancient People regarding Earthquakes
Many Greek philosophers have various theories regarding earthquakes.
- Anaxagoras (5th BCE-14th CE) - believed that it is caused by air vapors in Earth's cavities underground.
- Thales of Miletus (625-547 BCE) - had a firm belief on the tensions happening between earth's surface and water.
- Anaxomines (585-526 BCE) - said it is often caused by short episodes of dryness and wetness between Earth's surface.
- Democritus (460-371 BCE) - believed that water underneath causes eathquakes.
- Pliny The Elder compared to underground thunderstorms.
Still on the Greek mythology. Poseidon causes the Earth's shaking when he's angry due to his stature as god of earthquakes.
In Norse mythology, it's because of Loki, god of mischief and strife. He is a popular character in the movie, Thor (god of thunder) as god of lightning.
Meanwhile in Asian region, Japanese mythology interpreted it as the giant Namazu who causes earthquakes. It is guarded by god Kazima.
Cebu and Bohol Earthquake Tragedy: It Comes like a Thief
We cannot detect EARTHQUAKES, but we can be prepared once it struck our place, our home, our place.
It always come unannounced, although the humanity of this Earth is all agog to make a device that can measure even the unnoticeable movement of our planet.
But to no avail.
Just recently (October 15, 2013), Cebu and Bohol residents suffered devastating effects from the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that swayed, moved and destroyed buildings, houses and people's lives.
As Reuters reported, heavy damage to roads, bridges and historic churches, some dating back to the Spanish colonial period in the 1500s and the 1600s, was also reported in Bohol and Cebu.
Photos of destroyed churches, cracked roads, people seeking shelters at the open fields, patients being evacuated by doctors and nurses to makeshift shelters, food and water shortages are but some of the aftereffects of the massive earthquake and the aftershocks that still occur until this time (as of this writing, Oct. 24, 2013).
Emergency rescuers have a hard time recovering those people who are reported missing or dead since the earthquake occurred.
Relief goods, especially water and food supplies were immediately transported by the government and private entities or organizations. Although, the difficulty in distribution, especially the incident of National Red Cross with local officials, Cebuanos and Boholanos are in dire need to avail such basic aids, including temporary shelter because they're still afraid to return at their residential houses.
Last night (Oct. 23rd), President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III or P-Noy and his cabinet secretaries and government personnel conducted an immersion at undisclosed place in Bohol (away from the eye of the media). He said that such move to actually experience the aftershocks and know the sentiments of his fellow Filipinos in the two provinces that are heavily affected by the earthquake.
The quake was also felt in some areas of Bicol region (Sorsogon, Masbate and Albay) and also in Siquijor.
How Earthquake is felt
Any movement underneath the earth's surface that can be felt by human beings and animals living above it will be considered earthquake.
Earthquake can be distinguished from its frequency, area of coverage and its momentum.
Measuring instruments we have learned from schooling are seismometer and Richter scale. John Milne was the English seismologist and geologist who invented the first modern seismograph. In 1855, Luigi Palmieri of Italy designed a mercury seismometer.
Meanwhile, the Richter Magnitude Scale was invented in 1935 by Charles Richter of the California Institute of Technology as a mathematical device to compare the sizes of earthquakes.
Most studies determined the magnitude of earthquakes due to the heavy shaking of displacement of the ground causing landslides and volcanic activity.
Many will agree that we cannot detect how earthquake will be felt. But, modern-day geologists who study earth's movement are now equipped with data gathered by their instruments where to locate the epicenter of those quakes.
Still, the warning of incoming earthquake is still not possible for people to know, unlike the weather where meteorologists can easily predict the change of atmospheric condition of the planet.
But not underneath the ground, where churning activities of volcanic magma can cause hysteria to people in upscale level.
Location of Earthquake epicenters around the world
Preparedness when earthquake happens
Most of the Filipino houses are made of light materials, such as bamboo (for walls, posts and flooring, anahaw leaves (for roofing).
Due to the lure of modernization, most residents built concrete houses, a much-better protection from turgid or bad weather (typhoons, storms).
But most families didn't follow specifications when building residential houses, not even building permit to cite as an example.
Recent occurrence of earthquake in the Philippines prompted government agencies to encourage the public in availing modern houses modification, such as seismic retrofitting ( as in adding safety trusses, external bracing, post tensions, base isolation, and a lot more) in order to control massive damages when earthquake occurs.
Exercises on how to react during earthquake is an added lesson among students in school or even in many workplaces.
Since Philippines is located at the Pacific Ring of Fire, where volcanic activities underground is expected to occur from time to time, a much needed refresher on earthquake preparedness should be included on safety tips of every institution in the country.
Have you experienced already? What was your reaction?
How to conquer your fear during earthquake
Most of us, Filipinos are used to earthquakes but whenever it comes, a new fear usually demoralize the normal disposition of many residents here.
My first experienced of earthquake happened when I was in Grade IV (year 1981) as the 'alignment of planets' in our solar system occurred. Due to the gravitational pull of every planet and moons, those periodic quake occurrences where like just lying in a hammock as if lulling you to sleep. No imminent danger happened during the period.
But sudden but massive earthquakes usually happened in our region (Bicol) due to the volcanic activity of Mount Mayon in Albay.
The Ruby Tower tragedy in Baguio (in the 90s) was the next unforgettable earthquake scenario in the country.
Other earthquakes usually occur near the shorelines of the archipelago. Most of the vulcanologists in the country inform people that tectonic plates are moving under the Philippine islands due to volcanic activities such as magma movement or the lava explosion (volcanic eruptions).
Since then, the usual safety zones away (4 to 5 kilometers away) from volcanoes are established.
Warnings are given to mountaineers whenever sudden seismic activities occur during their treks near those volcanoes.
During earthquakes, tsunamis can occur near the seashore, like in Phuket, Thailand or in Japan.
Safety grounds should be noted or be informed to tourists whenever such event happens.
Magnitude 8 earthquakes since 1900
7.2 quake shocks Cebu & Bohol
7.2 quake shocks Cebu, Bohol c/o INQUIRER.net
Quotes on Earthquake
It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
I am grateful to President George W. Bush for PEPFAR, which is saving the lives of millions of people in poor countries and to both Presidents Bush for the work we've done together after the South Asia tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake.
-William J. Clinton
We know we cannot underestimate the importance of emergency planning in our region, nor can we assume we'll have ample warning time. If an earthquake or terrorist attack hits, we won't necessarily have advance alerts or opportunities to double- and triple-check our plans.
On behalf of my native Japan, I am grateful to the culinary community and hospitality industry for working together to raise much-needed funds to aid the tsunami and earthquake victims.
Note: These quotes were delivered by personalities who care for the salvation of humanity when natural disasters, like earthquake, happen.
A "ground rupture" pushed up a stretch of ground by up to three metres (10 feet), creating a wall of rock above the epicenter.
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