florence, Italy, natural occurences, science, travel, weather

Shake, Rattle and Roll (or not)

[<–the Arno, as seen from my favorite street in the city] Ohio gets several tornadoes per year (about 16), and many, many violent thunderstorms. From the time I was little, I usually slept through them. It takes a pretty bad storm to wake me up. I've slept straight through a tornado watch in which my mom was gathering everything to go down to the basement to safety. When she told me about it the next morning, my response was, "What storm?"

It seems I can add a new accomplishment to my list: last night, I slept through an earthquake. According to this article, it was a 4.2, and hit at around 10pm. Alice and I were watching a movie in our bedroom and didn’t feel a thing (though I did notice that the faucet was dripping in the hall bathroom after that. Maybe the vibrations loosened something?).

I’m fine, we’re all fine. It’s just strange to think that I didn’t notice an earthquake, though I know why I didn’t feel it. Firenze sits on top of a marsh–not terribly unlike the one that used to make up Madison County, in fact. So even if the bedrock is shifting, the marshland acts like one of those foam mattresses, the ones they advertise with the girl jumping up and down and the wine glass that doesn’t spill, and absorbs all of the kinetic energy, so the city on top is like that wine glass. A few people might feel a little something in the ground, notice the water in the cup on their nightstand vibrating, but you don’t really feel anything unless it’s a fairly significant shock. In fact, though Florence has fairly regular earthquakes (which I didn’t even know until last week) there’s never really been any recorded damage. The David’s never been knocked over, none of the sculptures have fallen off the Duomo, Ponte Vecchio has never lost bits of itself into the Arno. Just as an example, here’s a picture of the Chapel Saci just finished restoring. It was heavily damaged in the flood of 1966, when (I think) 13 feet of water covered central Florence:

I’m not a big geology buff, but I think that’s pretty cool.

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