Magnitude 5.2 earthquake Feb 6, 5:51 AM I awake to the sound of the windows and shutters rattling and the bed moving up and down beneath me for a few seconds.
Magnitude 5.4 earthquake Feb 6, 12:58 PM This is the first time I can remember two big earthquakes coming so close together.
Magnitude 4.9 earthquake Feb 6, 1:45 PM A friend calls to ask if I think the earthquakes are building up. “The big ones are rare” I say.
The first seismologist to weigh in assures us there is nothing to worry about, as this new series of quakes is not on a major fault.
Magnitude 5.1 Tuesday Feb 7, 2:24 Shake, rattle, and roll.
Magnitude 4.5 Tuesday Feb 7, 5:15 Awakened.
Magnitude 4.6 earthquake Feb 7, 21:35 PM Another jolt.
Magnitude 4.3 earthquake Feb 8, 12:53 AM The bed shaking and the windows rattling.
Magnitude 4.9 earthquake Feb 8, 3:38 AM Awakening again, feels bigger this time.
A second seismologist warns that the series of quakes could be building up to a big one like the 6.6 quake that caused significant damage to the island in 1865.
I become uneasy. My friend decides to move temporarily to a hotel at the other end of the island, farther away from the epicenter.
Magnitude 3.5 Feb 8, 15:31 I wonder if I should leave the village too.
I decide to sleep in my study, fearing the ceiling fan above my bed could fall on me.
Magnitude 3.6 Feb 9, 12:37 AM The couch makes less noise than the bed.
Magnitude. 4.0 Feb 9, 10:13 AM Louder than the one in the night.
Magnitude 3.6 Feb 9, 15:01 PM Not as big as the last one.
I sleep in my study a second night. No quakes.
In the morning I move my blankets and pillows back to the bed.
Magnitude 4.5 earthquake Feb 10, 10:55 AM. The house shakes.
Magnitude 4.3 Feb 10, 12:27 PM A sharp jolt gives me a slight whiplash.
Mithimna (also known as Molivos), Lesbos, where I live is at the top of the triangle that is Lesbos, about 11 miles from the epicenter of the earthquakes. Besides the larger quakes, there have been one or two smaller ones just about every hour during the past week.
There have been no major quakes for more than twenty-four hours. Is it over?
In the long run, it is not. The Anatolian fault runs from below Istanbul to just above Lesbos and out into the Aegean Sea. The Anatolian plate is being pushed westward by the Arabian plate and northward by the African plate. The Anatolian plate is being prevented by moving northward by the European plate. Many years from now the African plate will collide with the European plate and there will be no Mediterranean Sea.
The movement of the earth’s plates is a result of its molten core. “The planetary community has long accepted that as the Earth lost its internal heat, it would eventually settle into a quiescent stagnant state much like Mars.”
Like it or not, uncertainty and instability in the ground under our feet is part of what makes ours a living planet. This is the literal truth. Is it also a metaphor for our lives?
Update: After a quiet day on Saturday we had a 4.8 at midnight and a 5.2 at about 4 in the afternoon. 3.7, 3.6, and 3.5 on Sunday night and early Monday morning, rounding out a full week of tremors. NO it is not over.
(Note: Though there are cracks in the plaster in many of our buildings, including in my house, there has been no significant damage at this time.)
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