Sunday, January 21, 2007

"I feel the earth move under my feet..."

Image by Photographer Kim An-Soo
(Image from Wikipedia)

About 9:00 last night, my wife and I felt our entire apartment sway slightly as we sat before our computers working. We stopped, listened to the building's obscure rattling, then looked at each other. Sun-Ae's face expressed surprise and concern.

"Earthquake," I said.

We sat for a moment here on our 23rd floor, waiting, but felt nothing more than an inward trembling of the soul that continued even though the physical motion had stopped.

I then added, "At least, I hope that it was an earthquake."

Sun-Ae and I again looked at each other, remembering the poorly constructed Sampoong Department Store and the flawed Seongsu Bridge, which had both collapsed back in the mid-1990s here in Seoul. Then, we got up and went into the living room.

"Turn on the television," I advised, "to the news."

Nothing was immediately showing, so Sun-Ae went across the stairwell landing to check with our neighbors, who confirmed that they'd also felt the building shaking.

I called out to Sun-Ae, "Ask them to find out if it's just our building."

I remembered to check the time, confirming that the movement had occurred around 9:00 p.m. Soon, the news did come on and informed us that an earthquake of 4.8 on the Richter Scale had struck somewhere west of the east coast city of Gangneung, which would put the epicenter between Gangneung and Seoul.

That's not a strong earthquake, and I've felt far more powerful ones in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it's worrisome because it occurred on the Korean peninsula, not off in the East Sea (Sea of Japan) where one might expect some faultline activity, and I genuinely doubt that anybody in South Korea has been constructing all of these highrises to ride out a serious earthquake.

And that makes me wonder about a future in this country...


At 5:21 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...

Egads, man. How many signs do you need that it is time to move?

- Kim's nuclear test
- Losing your job
- An earthquake

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, they say that death is nature's way of telling you to slow down, so maybe I'm being given advance warning!

Aargh ... but I'm still here.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Time to come home Jeff. As the old hymm says,"Come home, come home, ye who are weary come home."

We'd love to have you!


At 5:02 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Home ... to Arkansas? Land of the New Madrid Fault? The crack in the North American continent that shook the central Mississippi region so roughly in 1812 that it uprooted trees, lowered land by several feet, created new lakes, and made the Mississippi run backwards?

Sounds good to me...

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:03 PM, Blogger jj mollo said...

The Appalachians haven't budged in a hundred million years. You should think about it. Seoul will be mincemeat in twenty minutes after fighting commences with the North. So either an earthquake or a war will be bad news for the Gypsy Scholar. Which one is more likely?

Tell me why it is that the people in charge are always so irresponsible. We both know that SoKor should be adopting social policies that encourage the distribution of population out of Seoul, but isn't. We both know that SoKor should be enforcing earthquake relevant building codes, but isn't. How do we know that? Human nature I suppose. Call it the New Orleans Preparation Principle. There must be a way to change it.

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

In general, the US is a fixit society -- with exceptions like New Orleans -- but a lot of other societies aren't. Maybe most aren't. The US is rather exceptional in believing that all problems can be solved.

Of course, the immovable Appalachians look pretty inviting ... except for the ground burning beneath people's feet...

Jeffery Hodges

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