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The Power of the Earthquake

January 14th, 2009

cloudJust how powerful is a 6.2 earthquake?

An interesting comparison was made in today’s Diario Extra, one of Costa Rica’s Spanish language newspapers. It is the equivalent (in released power) of seventeen atomic bombs of the type dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. That sort of puts it into perspective huh?

If the quake had not occurred so deep in the earth, there probably would not even be much of a Costa Rica.

Rescue workers are still on the scenes searching for more bodies beneath the millions of tons of earth. At this point, six days after the event, it will be astonishing if any more bodies are found and a miracle if any are alive.

The death toll stands at about 21.  I say “about” as different sources report different figures.

chinchona1I verified that the town of Cinchona de Sarapiquí, Heredia is gone.  The photo at right shows what is left. In today’s papers there have been comments from engineers who blame the horrendous damage on poor construction of these homes when the homes were build.  I am sure that right now, several hundred Ticos are slapping their foreheads and saying, ” Ahhh!  So that was the problem!”

Earthquake experts are now saying that previously inactive faults in that area have become active and that is the cause of many aftershocks everyone is feeling. Most are pretty mild and felt only if you are sensitive to them, though sometime in the middle of the night, my wife and I were awakened feeling the bed rocking a bit.  Certainly nothing like last week, but everyone is still on edge.

faultsAbove is a graphic of the faults in that area.  It shows the eight faults in and around the area of the eruption. If the experts are right, there will be many more aftershocks and those shocks may well activate more faults.

This will probably be my last post on the earthquake thing unless something really important comes up.

A list of all posts on this topic can be found here.