Impressions After Experiencing A Middle-sized Earthquake

The night of December 28, 2016 was the one in which I felt the undesired thrill of an earthquake again after only three months since the previous one.
Impressions After Experiencing a Middle-Sized Earthquake
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December 28, 2016, 1:20 AM. I woke up in the middle of the night after having some sort of strange dream. I was basically half awake, trying to chill out and go back to sleep, when of all a sudden the room started shaking violently. The word "earthquake" instantly crossed my mind, but before I had time to react it was all over. It lasted for only a few seconds, but it was definitely enough to scare the hell out of many people who were sleeping at that hour. I even thought for a few moments that this might not

be real, but a part of my nightmare, but I soon took that thought out of my mind: it had been frighteningly real, but fortunately shorter than the previous one I had experienced only three months before!


The first thing I did after going through such intense moments was to keep calm and open my TV, then start looking for the first reactions from other people on social media, and indeed it took only several minutes before the first pieces of information started to emerge, and I had the confirmation that there had just been quite a strong earthquake felt in many parts of Romania, but also in neighbouring countries like Moldova, Ukraine or Bulgaria. The first estimates indicated a probable magnitude of 5.3 on the Richter, while other sources indicated other numbers, the highest one being 5.6, but  regardless of what the actual magnitude was, it can be classified as a middle-sized earthquake.

I have to say that earthquakes are sadly no stranger to my country, Romania, and especially to  its capital Bucharest, its surrounding counties from Wallachia and the region where I live, Moldova. Those areas are characterized by an intense seismic activity, making Romania one of the countries with the highest risk of major earthquakes, alongside Italy, Bulgaria, Turkey or Greece, therefore a middle-sized earthquake such as the one I experienced a couple of days is not such a rare occurrence. What worries me and probably many other people is the fact that during the past couple of years, starting with September 2014, there was an alarming increase in the frequency of such unwanted events. I felt five earthquakes during this period, and I don't remember

going through so many scary moments in such a short time span ever before. Therefore, whenever I realize that I have just survived another earthquake and have a sigh of relief after finding out  that everything and most importantly everyone I know is safe, a chilling question goes through my mind: What it will be like when the "Big One" strikes?


Unfortunately there is no "if" in this matter, but only "when"; the historical record of earthquakes in Romania shows that truly major ones are inevitable, and the frequency with which they took place in the last century is another reason of concern.. The last two devastating earthquakes, which had magnitudes of 7.4 and 7.2, took place in 1940 and 1977; in both cases the death toll raised to more than1500 people, and before them there was a big one, with a magnitude of 7.1, in 1908. Based on these chilling stats one can presume that a major earthquake is likely to hit Romania every 30-40 years, and since 39 years passed since the last one struck, the probability of another one in the near future is very high.

Nevertheless, as seismologist always say in the media, there is still no way of knowing for sure when it will happen. It might be take place soon, but it might also occur a few decades from now on, so we have to live with this sword above our heads and get on with our lives knowing that one day it will happen. For the time being this holiday has offered me an unexpected and unwanted thrill in the form of a medium-sized earthquake; I was quite satisfied with the way I acted this time as well as in the previous occasions in the past couple of years, as I always kept calm and simply waited for the Earth to stop shaking, but I really don't know how I will react when the big one arrives. I can only hope that I will manage to keep calm and think as rationally as possible in those extremely dramatic moments and take the right decisions that make the difference between life and death!

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