Friday, 9 August 2013


A magnitude 7.8 (intensity 6-) earthquake hit Nara yesterday. Automatic warnings were broadcast o everybody's phones, urging them to take cover. Bullet trains across Japan ground to a halt, people panicked and stood in doorways waiting for the shaking to hit Kyoto (which, seeing as Nara is about 50 km away, would be incredibly severe). Phones lines were jammed across much of the country.

A magnitude 7.8 (intensity 6-) earthquake hit Nara yesterday. APPARENTLY.

'Apparently'... because nothing ever came. The official story now is that electrical interference on the ocean floor, coupled with a tiny magnitude ~2 quake in a nearby prefecture, caused a false triggering of the early warning system.

Firstly, that warning sound is terrifying. Second, so is the wait for an intensity 6- quake (the Tohoku earthquake of 2011 was 6- in Tokyo, for example). It was a very scary few minutes.

But my biggest fear here is that because of this false alarm - in which the systems in place worked flawlessly - people will be too complacent next time. Will people actually believe the next alarm? I sure hope so...

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