A Monday evening with a cracking surprise!

9 Mar

This week, on Monday evening to be precise, I became something that I never aspired to be and something that I never thought would be possible when I was living in Switzerland. At around 21.00 when I was finally back at home after a long day at work and my German lesson, I became an earthquake survivor.

Maybe it sounds more dramatic than it was in real life but the earth did move for me and, boy, did I feel it. I had just finished speaking to someone on the phone and decided to curl up on the sofa and get some reading done, when the whole apartment suddenly shook. I would say it was a building equivalent of when a dog comes in from the rain and proceeds to shake itself dry. It was over so quickly that it’s a bit hard to remember what actually happened. I remember the glasses in the cabinet that we have in the cabinet in the corner jangling as they shook back and forth. Then it was quiet. There was no warning that an earthquake was about to come and then there was a sort of deadly quiet; as if it had never happened at all.

At first, I was not sure if I had imagined it all completely and this is one of the reasons that I haven’t blogged about it until now. At the time I was sitting on the sofa thinking, Was that an earthquake or am I going slightly mad? There is only one thing to do in this situation: ask Twitter. Sure enough, there were people asking the same question: #Erdbeben in #Zurich? Earthquake in Zurich? It was a mixture of excitement and relief that other people had felt it too. It was a partial confirmation that I am not utterly gaga yet! It is surely only a matter of time.

After 20 minutes or so, there was already information on Twitter about how strong the earthquake was: 4.7 on the Richter scale. I will round up to 5 because that sounds a bit more impressive. Or do I actually mean dangerous?

Maybe it isn’t so surprising that Switzerland experiences earthquakes. I am no scientist but the formation of the Alps, however long ago that was, must have originated from the movement of tectonic plates under the earth creating pressure which, in turn, created the mountain range. Most of the earthquakes in Switzerland are not so strong that they are felt but in 1356 the city of Basel was completely destroyed by an earthquake. There are plenty of towns in England where an earthquake or some other natural disaster would possibly increase the value of property, so it is a shame that the UK does not sit on active tectonic plates.

All joking aside, it was a terrifying experience. I cannot imagine what it would be like to experience an earthquake greater than 5.0 on the Richter scale. Nor can I imagine how it would be to live in an area where the threat and fear of earthquakes is a part of everyday life. To have you home completely devastated, while you are possibly sitting inside it, is a fear that I am glad I do not have to contemplate on a daily basis. I’m content with the earth moving once in a while so that I can appreciate the force of Mother Nature but please, no structural damage to the apartment or my possessions!cracks-2099531__340


One Response to “A Monday evening with a cracking surprise!”

  1. Confuzzled Bev March 10, 2017 at 7:41 am #

    It didn’t even reach Basel! I only knew about it from the news.

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