|The tsunami following the mega quake off the coast of Japan in 2011 crashes ashore. Two huge but virtually undetected powerful silent quakes preceded the cataclysm.
Note—Four years ago today I posted this, which seems oddly even more relevant today.
Yesterday a friend’s Facebook post linked to an article on Smithsonian.com about the so-called silent quakes or slip events that preceded the enormous .9 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011. Being a geek for such things, I read the whole article, which was pitched to the target audience of intelligent laymen. I got about 80% of it and am prepared to act like I understand the whole shebang. Almost as soon as I finished reading, a dim notion formed in my mind about the powerful but unnoticed phenomena. Half an hour later out popped a poem, a minor side effect of the stealthy grinding of tectonic plates.
|In the days preceding the tsunami two powerful creeping deep quakes along the deep Japan Trench but no one on land felt or noticed them.
Zen and the Slow Earthquake
According to Smithsonian—
and who am I argue
with such lofty glossiness—
before the Big One shook Japan
a few years ago—
you know the one
that shook like nobody’s business
for six long minutes,
unleashed a tsunami
whose water wall
swept away damn near everything,
killed tens of thousands,
and uncorked nuclear Fukushima
spewing radioactive crap
and polluting the whole damn Pacific—
before that two long, slow quakes
crept along the Japan Trench
under the water for days each
as two sides of the tectonic plates
slipped by each other in slo-mo
like a sports replay video
each one releasing almost as much
energy as the big trembler
and moving even more earth.
Yet no one on dry land felt a damn thing,
not a one going about his or her
humdrum business was aware,
big wig scientists could hardly measure it
and figured out what had happened
only after the fact
by pouring over printouts of data
that no one else would ever scan.
Slip events they called them
and said they may—or may not—
have led to the big one that
suddenly snapped things
and got everyone’s attention
and that things like that happen
along other fault lines
all over the damn world
and no one notices.
Quiet quakes of unimaginable power indeed—
it’s like the Earth