22 November, 2008

Am I Dreaming?

They say that there are multiple seismic tremors every day in Costa Rica. They say that lots of small, harmless tremors are good because they release pressure from the tectonic plates and make large earthquakes less likely to occur.

During our time here in Costa Rica, a little more than a year now, we have had only 3 or 4 tremors that were noticeable to us. Usually they were very short, and by the time you had figured out what was happening, they were already over.

This past Tuesday night, around midnight, I was awakened by the sensation that I was moving. Now, I am known to have vivid dreams that have a tendency to blend with my reality, especially in that muddled state between asleep and fully awake (just ask my wife, she has quite a collection of stories). So when I felt like I felt like the room was moving, my first instinct was to assume I was dreaming.

As I became more and more awake by the second however, it became apparent that this was no dream. We have a large dressing mirror hanging on the wall above our dresser and it was loudly slapping against the wall. Wind chimes are a very popular decoration here, but they are normally put inside the house where they are exposed to very little wind. The purpose of the wind chimes here is to indicate the presence of a tremor. Ours was making a lot of noise.

Once the reality hit that this indeed was an earthquake, two thoughts were running through my mind. 1) Is it going to be over in a second or two like all the ones before it? or 2) Do we need to get the girls and get out of the house?

I regularly pray that God would give us wisdom in the event that we need to get out of the house, because the small tremors and a potentially deadly large earthquake can begin in the same way. The 5 sets of locks that keep us safe from those outside the house that would do us harm, are the same 5 sets of locks that would keep us from exiting the house quickly in an emergency.

If you have never personally experienced an earthquake, it is hard to imagine what it is like. I have never been in a really big one, and God willing I never will be, but I have spoken to some people that have. The ground under your feet that has behaved in a predictable way for all of your life begins to do things it is not supposed to do. There is a feeling of complete lack of control. This is not something you went looking for, it has found you. And there is no way to get away from its affects, only attempts to position yourself in such a way as to not have something fall on you.

God knows when the earthquakes are going to come, small or large. We are trusting that He will give us wisdom about what to do if a big one comes.

You can read below and article that talks about this most recent activity.

Have you ever experienced and earthquake?

Early morning 6.2 quake was felt all over country

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

An earthquake that was estimated at a magnitude 6.2 struck at a point on the Panamá-Costa Rica border at 12:12 a.m. today.

The epicenter appeared to be a few kilometers inland from the peninsula that both countries share.

The location was listed by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center to be 55 km (35 miles) west-southwest of David, Panamá, 45 km (30 miles) south-southeast of Golfito and 220 km (135 miles) southeast of San José.

The quake was felt in San José as a short and a long tremor. The duration may have been as much as a minute.

The area of the quake, Punta Burica, and nearby Puerto Armulles in Panamá are a frequent location for such events. There have been no reports of injuries or damage yet, the magnitude of the quake is in the danger range.

Online seismographs at the Obvservatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica showed that the quake was felt all over the country.

A quake hit the same area early Dec. 25, 2003, and killed two persons and damaged at least 70 homes. That quake was registered as a 6.3 magnitude.

U.S. Geological Survey, National
Earthquake Information Center
Red dot shows estimated location of quake

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