Sunday 23 March 2014

Number 102: Experience an Earthquake

Completed 26/29 December 2010
Port Vila, Efate, Vanuatu and Tanna, Vanuatu.

This was the first additional thing that I added to the existing list, making it 102 on the list. While it was something I always wanted to experience, I also knew that it would be very difficult to actually be in the right place at the right time. But it happened while on the same trip as "See an erupting volcano" over Christmas 2010 in Vanuatu. 

The major initial earthquake hit at about 12:16am on 26 December 2010, so as you might imagine my partner and I were asleep at the time and were woken by the movement. What did it feel like, it was surreal. Since I just woke up I thought I was still dreaming and it felt like I was walking on the deck of a stationary yacht at sea. 

We were not the only ones that were awoken either, a number of guests and management of the hotel we were staying at were awake. It was a bit of a worry since we were staying at a beach side resort and my scientific brain went straight to the thought of a following tsunami. Now that coupled with the lack of clear information we were getting, we decided to go for a drive around the island to higher ground... Blame a state of sleep deprived panic and the fact that it was a very low tide at the time which we found out several hours later.

The first aftershock was around midday that day and was much lower magnitude, but it was more enjoyable to be awake when it occurred and  the second major aftershock was several days later and was a bit stronger. We were also closer to the epicentre of the earthquake since we were on the island of Tanna instead of Efate.

So what did I get to experience?

Initial magnitude estimates were:
7.3, 6.2 and 6.6 respectively.
Revised magnitudes:
7.3, 6.0 and 6.4 respectively.

Mark 102 as done


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