Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Tremor in Qatar April 9, 2013 – What Happened

So I was sitting in a conference room talking to a colleague when suddenly I felt a little light-headed and dizzy. I thought was a bit odd when my colleague said something like, “I feel a bit dizzy.” When we realized it was happening to both of us we immediately both thought it was an earthquake.

Outside the conference room everyone was standing up looking a bit confused and confirming that their neighbor felt something as well.

Since it only caused a slight feeling of disorientation it certainly wasn't a powerful tremor, not enough to cause buildings to collapse, but I had two concerns, either:

1) it could have been a powerful earthquake far away (hopefully not from a populated area like Dubai); or
2) it was localized to the building, i.e. the building was somehow moving, maybe sinking on its foundation.

Anyway I wasn't too concerned, the shaking wasn't even enough to knock over small items, but I went outside with some coworkers to catch some air.

Once I got outside and saw that other buildings were evacuating so it was clear it was not anything to do with just the office building I work in.

Which then meant it was a general earthquake. But Qatar does not lie on any known faults and is actually very seismically stable. I was chatting with other colleagues and hoped that what we were feeling was not a big earthquake further away. Meanwhile the entire office building was evacuated and we all stood around chatting and wondering what was going on.

For monitoring my twitter account I discovered that it was due to a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in southern Iran, which is unfortunate as earthquakes in that country can cause thousands of deaths. News reports now say it was near their nuclear power plant as well -- here's hoping nothing goes wrong. Current weather reports have a light wind from the east so if there is some kind of complication from the nuclear power plant at this point in time nothing should reach here.

I’m at home now, everyone was told to not go back to the office. Even if there are further aftershocks in Iran they will not cause much more here than the slight tremor we felt earlier.

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