Dances With Words: Did you hear anything?

Nick Wolochatiuk ~ Dances With Words
Dances With Words: Did you hear anything?
NOT EARTHQUAKE TOLERANT – This traditional Moroccan village was similar to the original Agadir. It was made using an economical ‘rammed earth’ technique. Unfortunately, it has almost zero earthquake tolerance and does not withstand exposure to heavy rainfall. (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)

735 pm Wednesday July 14, 2021: KaaaaBOOM! (That’s the best my limited onomatopoeic skills can muster.) I got off my big fat sofa and popped my head out the front door to see what had caused the bang. My wife thought it could have been a propane tank explosion. My first thought was some construction work.

A jogger loped by. I waved her down, “Did you just hear something?” While she pranced on the spot, I repeated my question a couple of times. It was only then I realized she was wearing ear buds. “No, didn’t hear a thing.” Puzzled at my question, off she went.
Further along, near the northwest corner of Ingleside, there was a circle of about half -dozen people. “Did you folks hear a bang about five minutes ago?” They had already decided it had been an earthquake. I agreed and pushed on.

Continuing my poll, I stopped at the village’s outdoor pub. At the nearest table I asked, “You guys hear anything about fifteen minutes ago?”

The closest drinker put down his stein, looked rather vacantly at me, and replied, “What?” I repeated my question a bit louder. All I got was the same answer. One of his drinking buddies at the end of the table turned to him, looked directly at him and repeated my question, getting the same “Whaaat?” in response. Methinks he had a bit more than a hearing problem.

Ever since, several similar earlier KaaaaBOOM! experiences have come to mind.

In a late 50s air show an F-86 Sabre went into a dive to muster just enough speed to create the ‘bang-bang’ of a trans-sonic boom.
Agadir, Monday March 11, 1974. We were marvelling at the city’s unusually modern shopping centre. It was so out of character with Morocco’s ancient cities we had visited, such as Fez, Ksar el Kebir and Marrakech. Missing was the labyrinth of alleyways of its Kasbah, so narrow that two laden donkeys could pass only with difficulty.

Suddenly, I felt the terrazzo floor tremble and heard a loud boom. I thought it was some blasting being done for a construction project. Instantly, everyone, especially the older Berbers, ran out into the open street, screaming, some shouting, “Allah! Tremblement de terre!”
I eventually learned why they panicked so. On February 29, 1960, Taborjt (the old Agadir) was hit by a Richter 5.8 earthquake. 90 % of the buildings were destroyed or severely damaged. At least 12,000 people died. The original townsite was abandoned.

The epicentre of last Wednesday’s Richter 2.8 quake was 13 miles west of Cornwall. That just about puts it in the back yard of our Ingleside, between the carrots and the tomatoes. No damage. They tell me Cornwall’s September 5, 1944 quake did more than rattle a few dishes.

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