Last night we had an earthquake in Brasov. This is the second one that’s happened since I came, but I was awake for this one. It was my first earthquake and it scared the bejesus out of me. The USGS says it was a 5.6, whatever that means 🙂
You know when your car starts to hydroplane? And you can feel it jolt as it follows the path of least resistance as it loses contact with the road? It’s like that. Coupled with the visual of the ornaments on the tree swinging in the air, I think you get the picture.
As Clau has a better head than me, he got me off the couch (that was moving) and moved us to the doorway. We’re on the top floor (5th floor by American standards), so I think the swaying/jerking motion was a little more pronounced. Like I said, I was pretty scared. My entire building (communist block housing) is made out of solid concrete, and I have no idea how flexible or earthquake resistant it is.
After the movement stopped, I had this sick, out of control feeling in my stomach. My teeth were chattering. It took about an hour before I felt like I could sleep. Thankfully, we had no aftershocks or anything. In the morning, it was snowing. Whew.
Earthquakes are not a new occurrence in Romania. Most of them (including the one from last night) have their origin in a place called Vrancea.
According to Wikipedia, in 1977, a powerful 7.2 earthquake in the mountains of Vrancea laid waste to Romania’s capital of Bucharest, killing over 1,500 people.Over 11,000 people were injured and almost 40,000 buildings were damaged.
Here is a recording of the earthquake (note: slightly disturbing content) taken from an opera house during intermission:
Previous to the 1977 earthquake, another occurred in 1940 with similar origins in the Vrancea region producing similar results in the country (7.7 magnitude). The intense shaking of this quake was felt all the way from St. Petersburg to Greece.
Other monstrosities that were born in the mountains of Vrancea? An earthquake in 1802 was an estimated 7.9, with several aftershocks stronger than a 5 magnitude. In 1986, an earthquake reported from 6.5-6.9 magnitude claimed the lives of over 150 people.
So this was not the first earthquake in the area and obviously, it won’t be the last. I just hope I’m not here when the “big one” that everyone’s predicting happens.