Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chengdu Trip #5: Earthquake Warning

At around 11pm Monday night, a loudspeaker truck came by telling people about an impending earthquake within the next 24 hours; the information was also on many TV stations. My first thought was, "Huh, they can't predict earthquakes?!" and went back to sleep. There was a 5.2 aftershock at around 2am Tuesday morning but I didn't notice. At Jinghu Hotel, where Leon was staying, Prof. Yan found him and "evacuated" out of his hotel room. When I got up the next morning, there were a lot more people sleeping outside in tents or just in the open.

I'm pretty surprised that most people believed the warning/prediction. Being from California where earthquakes are a daily occurrence, we know there is no reliable way to predict earthquakes with any precision or accuracy. Most of the predictions are more statistical, telling us that there is an x% chance of a large earthquake during the next so many years; definitely nothing good enough to get me to sleep outside in the rain.

First tent sighting along the road to the airport.

More tents along the road near our old factory. There is an open sewer that runs behind the row of tents.

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