Earthquakes don't get names like hurricanes do. I suppose one reason is because there aren't enough of them, thank goodness. They just get their location and year: we just had the Costa Rica 2009 one. At least we're all hoping that was it. If we get another, we'll have to call this the Costa Rica January 2009 one. I'll keep you posted.

This was a 6.1 which is a pretty big earthquake. If the epicenter had been in San José, buildings would have fallen. For an idea, here's a video of two earthquakes [FIXED!]:

  • The Loma Prieta earthquake, San Francisco
    17 October 1989, 5:04pm, 15 seconds, 6.9
    63 people dead – 3,757 injured – 8,000-12,000 homeless
    Caused by a slip along the San Andreas Fault
  • Jiji earthquake, Chichi, Nantou, Taiwan
    21 September 1999, 1:47pm, 7.3
    2,416 deaths (including missing) – 11,443 wounded
    44,338 houses destroyed – 41,336 houses severely damaged
    Occurred along the Chelongpu Fault in the western part of the island of Taiwan

Ours didn't feel that big when I was sitting down the mountain at lunch with my brew-has [BRU-jas]. Usually the quakes are so brief, they are over before you realize what is happening. This one started and we all just sat there. Then it just kept going and going… by the time we finally got up to go outside, it was over. By that time, we were officially scared.

I called the boys right away. A window broke and stuff fell off the shelves, but they were fine. Freaked out, but fine. It feels worse up on the mountain: you're basically sitting on a pile of rocks. When one moves, they all move…

The area around the epicenter is devastated. There are plenty more than four people dead. At least one town pretty much disappeared, roads are gone, dropped down a mountainside. I wanted to do an update yesterday but the information was so wildly confused and contradictory, I couldn't make sense of it. This morning, A.M. Costa Rica has a pretty comprehensive update. CNN has a news article, too. Where there is conflicting information, I'd go with A.M. Costa Rica simply because they are here speaking local Spanish.

I'm still feeling shakes and jolts. It's 8:30am here, I've been typing for about an hour and felt several this morning. Different from yesterday's. Yesterday they were short and sharp, like a hammer hitting a rock. Today they are shakes, like someone holding the rock and giving it a push-pull-push. Deep in the earth and far far away. All equally unnerving.

Someone reported that the types of tremors we are having – harmonic tremors – are eruption precursors. I  googled that but vulcanologists and seismologists use big multi-syllable words like endocrinologists do. They might even be the same words. The topic is completely incomprehensible to me. Knowing eruption precursors exist and that someone suggested we are having them is terrifying.

Odd. After this experience, I assumed that the words terror and terremoto were related. Not even close.

I've learned a lot about volcanos and earthquakes and Poás, in particular, the past couple of days. Poás is active and prone to eruptions. It's a stratovolcano like Mount Vesuvius and Mount St. Helens… lucky us. Stratos tend to hold in their emotions, then erupt in a big way. Without warning. Kind of like me pre-progesterone.

Relief efforts are underway, the local Cruz Roja [cruise ROW-ha, Red Cross] is coordinating the work. Expats are driving over to their local office, giving money, bottled
water, personal items (diapers and the like are critical needs). If you'd like to donate, I don't know what to suggest other than to give to your local Red Cross and hope it trickles down to Costa Rica. I've tried to find an online place to donate but so far no luck. If I find one, I'll post it here. We need an expat online Red Cross PayPal account for emergencies. I'm plotting…

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