Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Pods..

In 1985, just after landing in Fort Nelson, B.C., I was met at the airport and whisked off to the Christmas Party at

My Bronco – being warmed up after an Overnight Snowfall in January, 1986. Cassiar, B.C.

a local hotel where my brother was hosting a staff dinner.  I was shown to my seat at a long dining table and had taken the first sip of a fine Scotch.

Suddenly the floor rolled and undulated beneath me.  The table rose and fell.  Dishes rattled.  The walls swayed in and out while the chandelier swung side to side above our heads.  For thirty seconds, I rocked in terror.

“That’s some incredibly potent Scotch, brother dear,” I said once everyone settled down.

Earthquakes were supposed to happen around my coastal home, not at an inland location just miles south of the Northwest Territory border.  Turned out the 6.9 epicenter was a few hundred miles north of us. (Click here if curious) .  No humans were hurt but I couldn’t help wonder what it did to the animals.

Then in 2001, a 6.8 quake near Olympia, Washington rattled the china and shock the foundation of my island lodgings, but again, caused no harm to anyone.

The 7.7 quake that shook Haida Qwaii last night, the biggest of all, didn’t disturb my island 500 miles to the South.

Why did the shaking take place inland, hundreds of miles to the East?  Why was there no Tsunami? John Cassidy, a seismologist was quoted in the Vancouver Sun:

“The quake happened as two tectonic plates — the Pacific plate and the North American Plate — slid past each other. Cassidy said such horizontal movement typically doesn’t pose the same tsunami risks as vertical movement, which is the sort of quake that triggered the devastating 2010 tsunami in Japan.”

In the same report:

“Brent Ward, an earth scientist at Simon Fraser University, said the big one would happen along a different fault than the one involved in Saturday’s quake, on the edge of the Juan de Fuca Plate west of Vancouver Island.

That plate is moving underneath the North American Plate, said Ward, in a process known as subduction. When it finally gives way, the results would be catastrophic.

We would get the entire West Coast of Vancouver Island being affected by a large tsunami, similar in size to the one that hit Japan,” he said.”

Two of us, Peter and I, share Pod Leader responsibilities in our neighbourhood of nearly 100 homes.  We’re primarily responsible for gathering resident information for the Emergency Response Team.  To do this we need a number of other volunteers who can quickly and easily reach a small number of homes and report to us.

The challenge is finding those people to volunteer.

No matter the age, race, culture or location, no one thinks its going to happen to them.

I hope they’re right.

I’ll keep asking for volunteers anyway.

Meanwhile –

I’m sending prayers for those folks in the East who are dealing with Hurricane Sandy. 

May you be as safe and sound as we are, this moment, on the West Coast.


49 thoughts on “Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Pods..

  1. Thank you for posting. You’ve been on my mind all day. I kept checking your FB page to see about you. We are watching Hurricane Sandy as she moves up the Eastern Seaboard. Not only is she moving our way but we have a full moon on the horizon and where I live is “the home of the world’s highest recorded tides”. We may beat even our own record tomorrow night.

        • And you have each other. I’ve imagined myself trapped and not being able to recite one poem fully. It would drive me bananas! I have all these one or two liners in my head along with a complete dependency on the Internet. Aha…there’s another good reason to go for an IPhone5 that doesn’t need a provider to work!

  2. I wondered whether it had reached your island home when I read about the earthquake and tsunami warning for Hawaii. 7.7 is huge.
    We had a small quake here around 8 a.m – only about 3.9 – but it still shook the house.

    Hurricane Sandy on the east coast and earthquakes on the west coast… Scary.

    • Sometimes I think I’ll ask Gary if we could just go live on cruise ships til the end of our time. Out in deep water. Oh…wait a minute…hurricanes are there, too, aren’t they? Hawaii seems pretty safe but then there’s volcanoes. Guess we just have to face the music!

    • At times I think we are foolish for living on this West Coast, Charles, but then I see how there’s something else in other places! We all sort of adapt to the threat of the area.

  3. I love the idea of your pods, i cannot imagine that it would be hard to find volunteers, I would love to be part of such a sensible enterprise. Lovely to see you. hope your ground has settled down again.. c

    • I may recruit you, Cecilia! Hone your ESP honed and fine-tune your intuition. I see you have a kitten – I will come for a visit and catch up. Can’t believe it won’t be long before you’ll be writing about blizzards again.

  4. Where do you live right now, kiddo? Vancouver? I lived in Tofino for ten years and I know everyone there. I now live in Port Alberni , an hour and a half from the beach, but we are also on the tsunami advisory route, as the canal that comes into Port from the ocean was hit by a tsunami in 1964. I was pretty nervous last night for my friends, am glad emergency plans swung into action so effectively, and am worried that worse is yet to come……..that this may be a precursor. Was relieved to read the Big One will be caused not by the plates of last night’s quake but in the Juan de Fuca strait, though that is terrifying to contemplate. Anyone who has seen An Inconvenient Truth has to be nervous.

    I worry too for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy…………I hope for no loss of life, a lot to hope for. Mother Earth is uneasy, thanks to us. May all be well. Thanks for keeping the positives coming – we need them, and Mother Earth needs them. Big-time.

    • Hi Sherry…I’m in the Gulf Islands. The good news? We are fairly protected from Tsunamis. The not-so-good news? We could simply fall into the ocean when that supposed big one hits! I’m currently on the Net looking for a space shuttle to catch for the next couple of years. 😀

      I bet you were nervous being in Pt. Alberni. Too many reality reminders of the 1964 blast. That was back in the days before we knew the word Tsunami, wasn’t it?

      It’s worth the effort to keep very positive. It doesn’t hurt to test the the claim that positive thinking can thwart a catastrophe!

      Take very good care, Sherry, and keep visualizing safe conditions.

    • Thanks, Raven, I’ve found one and may have found another while doing Aquafit this afternoon. Inch by inch! The “maybe” is the wife of a retired Dr. – they’ve just arrived from California and are not very rattled by earthquakes! She’s considerin’!

  5. I thought of you last night when I tuned in to late night news. Earthquakes fascinated me. I’ve only experienced one and it was over before it dawned on me what it was. I remember questioning my own senses. The floor rolling under me…assuming maybe I’d had too much wine the night before, but as I turned around from the coffee pot in the break room to find all the California transplants huddling under the table I had an aha moment. That earthquake claimed the lives of 2 children a couple of hundred miles north of me in Challis, Id.

    The aunt of my former husband was raised in Hawaii. We toured the Big Island with her in 2000, and she showed us where her classmates and teachers were washed out into the ocean by a huge Tsunami. She was late for school that day. Lucky for her.

    • When I was reading your comment, I was wondering if there’s earthquake chasers! 🙂 Sounds like you’d be right in there. We need you up here on our Emerg. Response Team. Oh, okay, maybe they need you there!

    • Trouble is, Beverley, a team makes the difference between life and death for people trapped. Maybe folks need to be reminded that family and loved ones FIRST; then neighbourhood.

      • My ex husband works as a volunteer with the Welsh mountain rescue team and sometimes he’s on call when he’s at work and if they get a call he has to go. A team saves lives.

  6. Hi Amy .. I heard about it, then couldn’t find any more news – so ‘guessed’ everyone was alright .. my mother’s cousin and family are out on VI, as are other blogging friends in and around the north west coast. Very glad you are safe and sound ..

    I saw a programme years ago – that shows that over the eons there have been huge tusunamis – as the damage is still apparent in the flora and fauna along the Canadian, Alaskan, American coastline – I wish I’d paid more attention.

    Natural life will adapt – we I suspect have lost that art …

    Volunteers of any sort are few and far between – I sincerely hope yours will come forward .. many thoughts – Hilary

    • The poor folks on that Northern Island had an aftershock that was approx 6.5 just before noon the next day. They must be afraid to go to sleep at nights. Because of our assumption that the ground is solid, earthquakes destroy any trace of feeling secure.

      I was just talking to a man who worked with crews in the wilds along the Canadian Coast. He found in locations of higher elevation evidence of sea life that had to have been washed up with a Tsunami. I bet our Native communities have an oral history of such events.

    • Hi Sweetie Pie…you’re one of my “family” and I need to get around for a visit. Any time you think you need a change of scenery, you know you’d be welcome to move here. We have a great place for your Mom and Dad! Only trouble is, doesn’t get you out of a earthquake zone!

  7. So happy to hear that all is well on your island, but I did see the post on FB. I googled where the earthquake was so knew it was away from you but one never knows if you would feel it anyway. I am concerned about my friends on Long Island, we went thru hurricane Gloria in the 80’s there, we were with out everything for 11 days. It is very interesting how life changes.

  8. Lots of prayers going out in lots of directions. *sigh* Dunno if it’s the way of the planet or the way of the reporting ON the planet–any way you look at it, it makes for uneasy times.
    I’m in the middle of the country and we deal with our own brand of nature….and yes, silly people chase tornadoes and ice storms and blizzards–we get all kinds, I tell ya. Do I feel any safer? Ummmmmm…..not really. There’s a dis-ease that happens without the weather radio alerts–and it’s only heightened with it. But it’s good to have more information, I’m told– And better safe than sorry?

    You need more volunteers and I’ve no doubt you’ll persevere until you get them.

    • How do people get through these incredibly scarey times without faith in SOMETHING bigger than us? I hope that the planet gets all this out of its system soon. Then, it would be grand to have seasonal changes around the world that are only hiccups! 😀 And that allow all of us to grow food about 2/3 of the year.

      Yah…volunteers. I’ll stay positive, but it takes some work, I confess!

  9. Hi Amy. Nice post. I’m so glad you are safe. Unfortunately you are right about getting volunteers… no one ever expects for anything bad to happen to them. But I digress. I’m hoping that the people living along the east coast will be safe.

    • Thanks, Carol. Volunteering is so enriching – in both the giving and taking. We learn a lot about ourselves when we place ourselves on a level playing field. Suddenly we can’t stand on any platform…we’re just on the field deciding how our skills can be useful, just like everyone else. It’s sad how people avoid sticking up their hand because it can be one of the best, simple, easy impact that we can have on our community.

  10. Isn’t that the truth. We’re so surprised there are still things in this world we can’t control. So it is an eye-opening experience when it happens. May the lessons be mild, this time.

    • Something that predictably puts me in awe, Barb, is the way people pull themselves out of these disasters and clean up. What a job. Look at the clean up of 911 and now this. I tell ya! There’s a lot of heroes that rise out of the aftermath, too.

      (I just heard on the radio as I was waking up – so it’s sketchy – but apparently there has not been any new buildings built in Japan ((not sure if it was just in one city?)) since the Tsunami. I know of one blogger whose family moved across Japan to get away from the re-activation of the Nuclear Plant that was NOT sufficiently repaired before the Gov’t decided to turn it back on.)

  11. I heard on News that though Sandy has moved to Canada and while it lost some of its force, it still remains strong enough to make life difficult for folks out there. I wish you the best for your volunteering efforts. Coastal India too was asked to stay prepared for Neelam (Sapphire) – a storm that thankfully veered off its expected course. With all these natural disasters happening everywhere, all the time, one can’t help but wonder whether we are in some ways responsible from bringing this upon ourselves.
    Warm Regards,

    • I haven’t heard any bad news from Eastern Canada – and I’ve listened to our Cdn Broadcasting Corporation news. They’ve been prepared for the worst and apparently any wind has been manageable. Hope the word is still the same when the storm has passed. Yes, our planet is giving us much to consider, Shafali! Meditation, being positive and staying away from fearful thinking is worth every effort.

  12. The post started with the mention of year 1985, which is also my birth year; so I was wondering like let me see what happened during the year I was born in this world. 🙂 I am glad to hear that, you are safe. These days nature has been behaving very aggressively. Sandy in US, then one day Later Nilam another tropical cyclone at our place and then now I came to know about this earthquake. We all need to love and respect our mother nature more; so that it will treat us in a better way.Take care, Amy Aunty.

    • I wonder, Arindam, has this planetary activity increased or are we just more connected and aware? I’m not sure who can best answer that question. A very dear friend of mine, from a tiny Polynesian island, told how he was raised in houses made of materials that were easily blown away in a hurricane, but also easily accessed to build a new home. It was a way of life. Now, his people build homes from lumber and now have the worry of its demolition. Oh how I love simplicity.

  13. Pray you are well and safe Amy…heard you had some tremors yesterday in your area. My nephews who live in Vancouver and Victoria said they felt nothing…hope it was the same with you…May He always keep you in the Palm of His Hand…amen!

    You have been in my thoughts and prayers…God bless…

    • Shamaji, there are so many tremors around here…it’s constant. The downside to this? We built appropriately, we have rescue procedures in place, we learn about dos and don’t constantly. Yet, when a big one happens, it’s seldom according to all the predictions and speculations. Plus, each area of the planet has some sort of scary “thing”. Most of us grow so used to our scary thing and wonder how others manage theirs! Thanks…I appreciate your prayers.

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