I was sitting quietly in my apartment watching TV and minding my own business this afternoon, when the sofa started vibrating. What was that? Then a couple of seconds later, the house started shaking and the dishes on the kitchen shelf rattled a bit. Earthquake!
This was one of those longer-lasting, rolling type quakes rather than the ones that just hit with a quick jolt and then are done. This one probably lasted 8-10 seconds, and it reminded me of the one we had in Oklahoma a few years ago that did some damage to people’s homes north of OKC. I don’t remember the magnitude of that one, but this was a 5.3. No damage, but big enough to get my attention.
I’ve felt a couple of other quakes since I’ve been in Panama. From what I’ve read, the tectonic plates in this area are “slippery” – they slide over each other smoothly and produce frequent smaller earthquakes, rather than build up a lot of pressure that releases suddenly, resulting in a damaging big quake. So Panama has numerous earthquakes, but the experts don’t think there will be a “big one” here.
We have small earthquakes in Oklahoma, and so far, Panama feels kind of like home in that sense!