Sunday, March 20, 2005


Fukuoka and Pusan experienced an earthquake at about 9:20 (CORRECTION: 10:53 - I can't explain why I wrote 9:20??) this (Sunday, March 20) morning.

Here in Sokcho, I was reading the marmot and thinking that I spend too much time in front of my computer when I experienced what I first thought was severe eyestrain. The words got blurry and and seemed to shift. When I looked away from the TV, the walls of my apartment were moving. That clued me in.

Not much happened here but thinking about an earthquake while on the 12th floor of a building is frightening.

Pusan, hang on. A 20 inch (55cm) tsunami is coming!

The Korean Meteorological Association is taking some heat for not issueing a tsunami warning fast enough. From the Chosun:

The KMA is supposed to put out warnings within 15
minutes of a temblor, but Sunday’s warning came 12
minutes late. The KMA earthquake center said it took
some time to analyze the location of the epicenter and
effects the quake would have in Korea.

But experts say a tsunami would have struck Korea’s
southern coast no more than 10 minutes after the KMA
warning, rendering it virtually useless. Park Hyeong-ju of
Kyungwon College Disaster Management Department said
this was a typical example of Korea’s lax attitude toward
disaster prevention.

The KMA said it would upgrade equipment and personnel
so that as to be able to issue warnings within 10 minutes
of an earthquake by 2007.

There are many reasonable complaints about slow moving government officials. This seems like a cheap shot. I guess we are lucky that the tsunami was expected to be about 20 inches or 50 cm- unnoticable, really. In the future, tsunamis of nightmarish size might be created in the small space between Korea and Japan and a quicker tsunami warning would be important.

No, it wouldn't. This is what I picture. A giant earthquake underwater. A pulse of water moving hundreds of kilometres an hour. A warning system sends a message to all broadcasters and cellular networks within a few minutes. The news, of course, preempts all TV and Radio within one minute of the call (Impossibly fast, I suspect). Additionally, the entire nation's cellphones or whatever they will have in 2 years time buzz or ring. People look at their devices...

Then look up at the wall of water.

The time for this tsunami was 10 minutes to shore. That's not much time even for a perfect system. I guess the rescue teams can get ready to find survivors.


Gumbi said...

Having been woken up by the Earthquake I can let you know that it was a 6.4 and it occured closer to 10:53 (to be exact)

Luckily I didn't get sucked out to sea...

kwandongbrian said...

10:53 sounds closer. I just reviewed the msn messenger conversation that I discussed it in and that was 11:40 and we talked about just a few minutes ago. Thanks for the correction.
I think few people noticed it here.