Quite shaken

You’d think Victorians have suffered enough after being in lockdown more than they’ve been out in the past 18 months, but no, Mother Nature sent them an earthquake yesterday.

My sister in law who lives in Melbourne reckons its the biggest and longest earthquake she’s ever felt. It went for a good 20 seconds and smashed her framed wedding photo into a million shards of glass.

When she posted a pic of the damage on Facebook, one of her US friends commented that he didn’t know Melbourne had earthquakes.

It doesn’t. Well, not like the one that hit yesterday.

It was the strongest earthquake recorded in Victoria since a magnitude 5.7 event at Mount Hotham in May 1966, and the first recorded since a magnitude 5.4 earthquake in the Gippsland town of Moe in 2012.

Dr Januka Attanayake, the research lead with the University of Melbourne’s earthquake seismology earth sciences unit, told The Guardian that preliminary estimates had the earthquake as a magnitude 5.8 to 6.0 and that aftershocks could occur for months.

“If these preliminary estimates are correct, it is probably the largest earthquake we have felt around Melbourne in the last 175 to 200 years,” Attanayake said. “If it’s a magnitude 6.0, it’s the first in hundreds of years. This is the first earthquake of this magnitude I have seen here during my lifetime, and it has probably not been seen during the lifetime of several generations.”

Attanayake said there are fault lines “all over the Australian continent” and that earthquakes themselves are not rare. But ones of the magnitude seen on Wednesday are.

My sister in law and I are having virtual drinks tonight to soothe our startled psyches.

Any excuse.

In the meantime, I’ve been testing out the new hanging egg chair. It matches well with a mint Magnum after a freaking intense day of Zooms, writing stories and editing hundreds of “ths” and “nds” out of a military-themed website I created for a client.

Might need to ease up on the Magnums as the chair can only hold 150kg.

As I swayed in the breeze, I remembered sitting in a wicker rocking chair on my grandparents verandah when the Newcastle earthquake hit on December 28, 1989. The shock measured 5.6 on the Richter magnitude scale and was one of Australia’s most serious natural disasters, killing 13 people and injuring more than 160.

My dad was filling a hole he’d dug in the front yard and was jumping on the dirt when the ground started shaking. He freaked out that he was the cause. My Nan had a group of friends over and they were chitter chattering up a storm in the kitchen until the earth moved. The room went totally silent during the earthquake, then filled with even lounder chitter chat when it stopped. The TV wasn’t working, so we relied on the radio to find out what was happening in the city.

It was very dramatic.

Melbourne is so lucky not to have lost lives. Let’s hope they also get their lost freedom back soon.

Song of the day: ACDC “You shook me all night long”

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