Saturday, May 10, 2008

Whole Lotta' Shakin' Goin' On

On April 18 of this year, I woke up in the early morning to a peculiar sensation which I'd never felt before. It felt as if someone had replaced my ordinary bed with a vibrator bed. I heard shifting and shaking sounds from the boxes of books piled up in my room, indicating that it wasn't just me. How peculiar, I thought. If I didn't know better, I'd think that Chicago was experiencing an earthquake! I looked at the clock next to my bed. It was 4:44 a.m.

Later, I learned that Chicago had indeed experienced an earthquake, as had numerous other cities in the Midwest. As earthquakes go, it wasn't very destructive, but some Chicago residents felt it more than I did. (In a letter to the editor of TimeOut Chicago, one resident talked about "books and knickknacks" falling off his shelves.)

Apparently the epicenter of the earthquake was six miles from West Salem, IL, which is 140 miles east of St. Louis, MO. West Salem is either 230 miles from Chicago (if you believe the writer of the Chicago Sun-Times article) or 270 miles from Chicago (if you believe Google Maps, as I'm inclined to do). The Sun-Times also mentions Mount Carmel, IL, which Google says is 283 miles from Chicago.

Even though the earthquake caused no serious damage, it made me aware of how vulnerable we all can be to nature.

I'm extremely thankful that I've never experienced any life-threatening natural disasters on a personal level. There have been a number of tornadoes in or near my home town of Springfield, MO, but I've never actually seen a tornado or experienced any tornado-related property damage.

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