Monday, June 09, 2008

Wobbling cyber chair only earthquake warning

While I had given a talk to a earthquake warning center a few days ago, the only warning that an earthquake was happening here in Greece was when the chair I was sitting on started to wobble. At the time I was in Athens, using a computer in the cyber-cafe of the hotel I am staying at.

The chair I was sitting on seemed to be wobbling from side to side. Given it was made of solid steel, after a few seconds I realised we must be having an earthquake. This lasted a few seconds and as there was no damage, I thought no more about it. It was only later that I saw media reports of the earthquake killing two south west of Athens.

In my seminar to the Kandilli Observatory and Earthquake Research Institute, Turkey, on Internet based systems for emergency warning.I warned that t6he region is at risk as the Mediterranean and connected Seas Tsunami Warning System is still under construction. It is fortunate that the Greek earthquake did not involve a tsunami.

It is actually possible to issue a warning of earthquakes, but only a few seconds in advance. Such warnings are still useful, sent out electronically to switch off equipment automatically, which might otherwise be damaged or cause injury.
ATHENS: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5 rattled southern Greece on Sunday, killing two people, injuring dozens more and damaging scores of homes, officials said.

The earthquake, which struck at 3:25 p.m., was centered near the northern Peloponnesian city of Patras, about 120 miles west of Athens, officials said. Much of the damage occurred around Andravida, about 40 miles southwest of Patras.

The Greek interior minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, said a 43-year-old man was killed by a falling roof in a village near Andravida. Another man died of a heart attack while being taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries, Pavlopoulos said.

At least four people were treated for leg injuries after leaping from the upper floors of their shaking homes, said Panayiotis Efstathiou, a regional health official. ...

From: Earthquake kills 2 in southern Greece, International Herald Tribune, June 9, 2008

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