Latin All Shook Up: Earthquake Epidemic

[/caption] Nick Lehmann News Editor It’s not the end of the world, though from a geological standpoint it may seem like it. As I sat down to begin research on the natural disasters that have been wreaking havoc around the world recently, the unthinkable happened. The news came on with a frightening headline: 7.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Indonesia. Its instances like this that gets students worked up and afraid of the disasters that have taken place in the past six months. Latin is no different than other milieus where a concerned community gathers and over emphasizes degrees of damage. Walking down the hallway the day after a natural disaster, it is not uncommon to hear such remarks as, “The world is going to end any day now.” Or, “Looks like 2012 decided to come two years early”. Latin Sophomore Katherine Pollock remarked, “On its own, the earthquake in Haiti was scary, however all the ones that followed simply made this crisis that much scarier.” While all of these comments may seem valid, we should take pause. The amount of worldwide earthquakes above a magnitude of 4.0 taking place in 2010 is on pace to be no different than that of other years. In 2009, there were 142 earthquakes of a magnitude of 6.0 to 6.9, 16 earthquakes of a magnitude of 7.0 to 7.9, and 1 earthquake of a magnitude of 8.0 to 9.9. In 2010 up until mid-April, there have been 58 earthquakes of a magnitude of 6.0 to 6.9, 5 earthquakes of a magnitude of 7.0 to 7.9, and 1 earthquake of a magnitude of 8.0 to 9.9. Although the numbers of earthquakes are similar from year to year, the death toll has increased exponentially. This is one thing that Latin students are definitely worrying about. Shelby Brody, a junior, said, “The amount of deaths taking place in 2010 caused by earthquakes is astonishing and it’s an absolutely horrible situation.” The disastrous January earthquake in Haiti killed an estimated 220,000 people. The reported amount of deaths caused by earthquakes in the year of 2010 is already at 250,000, while in the entire year of 2009, only about 2,000 lives were taken. The majority of lives lost was due to Haiti’s poor nation-wide infrastructure. Conversely, Chile, with it’s very strong government and strict building codes, lost only 500 citizens in an earthquake that was 700 times the magnitude of Haiti’s. This does illustrate that when earthquakes hit areas that are unsound, both architecturally and politically, the loss of life is sadly much greater. So far this year, we are on pace to equal the amount of earthquakes that took place in 2009. The tragic loss and the day to day reporting of new earthquakes has caused conversation and concern in the hallways of Latin. While it is understandable that the constant reporting of earthquakes is causing unease in our community, we must keep in mind that the frequency of earthquakes globally is unchanged. One positive of this heightened awareness is the increased charity worldwide directed towards the victims of these disasters. *All earthquake statistics cited from U.S Geological Survey: Earthquake Hazards Program]]>