Posted by: ilanasmith | December 16, 2008

What’s the Danish for “Earthquake”?


I’m not very good at earthquakes. 

The first I ever knowingly experienced I thought a truck was driving past.  Then I remembered that I was in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, it had taken four planes and a helicopter to get me to where I was, and that the closest truck was a couple of hundred kilometres away.

About a month before I moved to the US (the first time), a 6.8 earthquake hit Seattle.  Fissures opened up in the ground and buildings buckled.  My mother rang me and told me I wasn’t moving anymore.

Then there was that Icelandic one that I completely failed to notice.

This morning, I was woken at 6:20am by the earth moving.  I did what any reasonable person would do: I googled "earthquake Copenhagen" on my phone.  At least half the first page results were using the word metaphorically, so I figured that this area was seismically uninteresting, and that one of my neighbours must have been breaking the building in some new and interesting manner.  But apparently, I was wrong – it was 4.7, and the epicenter was 65 km away in southern Sweden.  The word is that it’s the largest one to hit the area since they started measuring.



  1. I rarely noticed anything below a 5 when I was on the west coast. I spent a couple years when I was 7 or 8 in Central California. Our logic was reversed. If the windows shook, first we thought "earthquake", and then it occurred to us to look for a truck passing by. Yeah, it was usually an earthquake. But I really wouldn’t expect a 4.7 in Sweden!!! That would get my attention at 6:20am.

  2. My favourite bit of the whole thing is that apparently there’s already a "Victims of the Danish Earthquake" group on Facebook. They’re talking benefit concerts, and counselling for those who were horribly woken early.

  3. "horribly woken early" Now that’s funny. :o)

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