Until yesterday I had never experienced an earthquake. However, last night I had my very first earthquake experience, and it was a big one. To give a little background information, here is a news article on the quake, and here is a video of it. Guess what? It registered a magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale! It originated in Valparaiso which is a coastal town about a 2 hour drive away from Santiago. I was in Santiago at the time and even though the cities are 118km apart, I still felt it hit extremely strong.
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Last night I was on my computer when the house started shaking. I didn’t know if it was going to get stronger or what so I sat under the door frame in between my bedroom and my bathroom and watched the ceiling light sway back and forth. It made me feel dizzy and I was scared that it was going to get bigger and that stuff was going to start crashing to the ground or something. It felt like the earth was shaking for hours but it actually didn’t last very long at all.
When I stood up again I realized my butt was soaked! Thankfully it was not because I peed my pants in fear. What happened is all the water that was in my toilet splashed out! I must not have noticed at first because I was a little preoccupied with the fact that my room was basically twerking. After the quake, (and after changing my pants) I walked up to my host parents’ room and knocked on the door to see if they were okay. When I opened the door, they were both in bed reading as if nothing had happened! They even laughed at me for checking on them since for them, this earthquake was no big deal.
My Chilean host family came downstairs and helped me put towels around the toilet to soak up the water and explained that this earthquake was nothing compared to the one in 2010. For me a 6.6 on the Richter scale sounded pretty significant. I guess Chileans are just used to the earth busting a move once in a while.
Update: For any of you looking to travel somewhere where earthquakes are frequent and you’re a bit worried check the comments section as there are some helpful tips for staying safe during an earthquake. And also remember that probably about 90% of the things we worry about never actually happen.
April is the founder and main author for Just Leaving Footprints. She has written for numerous blogs and publications such as Explore Magazine and Snow Pak. April loves writing about sustainable tourism, and promoting other sustainable travelers on her Facebook Group and Instagram Community, Ladies Leaving Footprints. Currently, April is living and teaching English in Mexico City with her husband Arturo and they don’t plan on stopping their travels anytime soon.