Thursday, September 29, 2011

The weather is Changing and an the Earth Trembles

Last Friday was the autumnal equinox and while Saturday still felt nice, Sunday marked a distinct change in the weather.  Winter is coming.  The leaves have been off the trees for a couple of weeks now and on Sunday I had a bit of a surprise.  I was getting ready for church when I heard a sound like a European ambulance.  There IS an ambulance in Kobuk so I looked out my door to see if it in fact was the ambulance (I live in the former clinic building and so the ambulance which is parked outside the clinic is very close to my house), but it wasn't.  The ambulance was sitting there not in use (and actually it isn't an ambulance in a traditional sense and I don't think it even has a siren).  I then proceeded to call Sarah (a missionary here in town) and ask her.  She told me that it was the alarm signaling that somewhere in the line the water was freezing.  It hadn't been cold enough before, but she said it was a sound I would hear often.  Thus, we had a literal signal that the weather was changing.
Today, it started snowing.  It was funny everyone was so excited.  The students wanted to go outside in the snow and everyone was busy watching it.  It was enough to make one think that people never see snow around here. It's not yet October, there will be plenty of snow yet to come (the snow wasn't sticking at first, but by lunchtime it was sticking, but by the afternoon it had melted).
Today was an exciting day for another reason too.  We had an earthquake.  In the Anchorage area earthquakes are very common, but apparently here they aren't.  I was teaching my middle schoolers and I was kneeling down and leaning against a table when the room started to shake.  Now, I've told my parents before that since everything is built on stilts because of the flooding one could easily experience and earthquake in Kobuk and not even know it.  That is kind of what happened today.  It shook for probably 15-20 seconds and you could here things rattling around. One of my students said the top of my Smart Board where the projector is connected was shaking.  However, after it stopped I said to the students, "that was an earthquake," and they responded incredulously.   One student told me that earthquakes were rare here.  Several insisted it was someone on the stairs outside.  I insisted that it wasn't.  One even had to go outside and check (there was no one outside at all).  Others wanted to call the other middle school/high school teacher and see if they felt it.  She missed it, but her students, said yes they had felt it.  I decided it was a good time for a brief science lesson (I am the science teacher afterall) and so we went to the USGS website and found that the earthquake was a magnitude 4.4 and was located 33 miles from Kobuk with a depth of 11.8 miles.  We also filled out the survey on reporting if you felt the earthquake.  The kids were pretty excited by it and I have to admit I was too.

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