Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Ground is Moving Under Me and It's Not the Subway

Seems Korea is not immune to its own, possibly damaging earthquakes.  Just as recently as Tuesday of last week, Korea was shaken by a 3.0 quake with an epicenter near Seoul.  A quick glance at Korea's Meteorological website shows that 46 earthquakes occurred in Korea in 2008, and one of those was in the 4.0-5.0 range in intensity.  The numbers haven't been released for 2009 just yet, but I predict it will be on par with the numbers put up in recent years.  These numbers have been increasing on a pretty regular basis since the record keeping first began in 1978, and the numbers hit their peak in 2006 with 50 earthquakes.  If that isn't something to think about, then I don't know what is.

This article in the Chosun Ilbo states that Seoul is the area that is most at risk for a major earthquake, although other areas in Korea are not immune.  If an earthquake with the magnitude of the recent Haiti disaster were to strike, over 400,000 people would die in Seoul alone, along with casualties in nearby Incheon City and Gyeonggi Province.  Most of the buildings in Seoul are not earthquake-proof (less than 10% of 510,000 buildings), and would suffer great damage should an earthquake hit.  That's a scary thought to comprehend.

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