The triangle of life method.

July 27, 2015

Mother Nature decided to pay a visit to Arequipa, Peru on Tuesday. 

I have friends who are on the west coast and an earthquake is not a big deal. I, however, have only felt an earthquake once. I was living in Beloit, Wisconsin. It was early in the morning. The blinds on the window started moving and woke me up. I basically had no idea what was going on and fell back asleep. It wasn’t until later in the morning that a co-worker asked me if I felt the earthquake. Haha. Earthquake? Apparently there had been an earthquake in southern Illinois, and southern Wisconsin felt the after shocks (or whatever they’re called.)

It occurred to me that we’re moving to a place that has a lot of earthquakes, and I don’t know anything about them. I’m certain Arequipa doesn’t have those buildings that are designed to sway rather than break under the stress of an earthquake, so I should probably educate myself on earthquakes and do some emergency planning.

First, the richter scale.

The richter scale measures the magnitude of an earthquake. This lovely image breaks down the numbers for you by displaying the potential severity of damage different types can cause and how common each are. The content of the photo is quite informative.

 As of today, Arequipa’s recent earthquake activity looks like this:

0 earthquakes today

1 earthquake in the past 7 days

3 earthquakes in the past month

10 earthquakes in the past year

Now here’s a tidbit on why Peru has so many earthquakes:

Peru is situated along the boundary of two tectonic plates: the Nazca Plate and the South American Plate, and those two plates meet right along the Peruvian border. Here’s a photo:



See in the center of the globe(ish) where is says “Nazca Plate”? The South American Plate is moving over the Nazca Plate slowly every year. Every so often the pressure is released and an earthquake occurs.

So what should you do if when an earthquake occurs?

There are a few different theories. The one that makes the most sense to me is the Triangle of Life method. You’d use this when indoors. Move quickly to nearest large, sturdy object and duck down beside it. Then, if the walls crash in or something large falls over, the larger, sturdier object next to you will receive a majority of the impact. Here’s a nice visual of that method:


Some have said to get under a table or something, but it seems professionals are moving away from that idea. Why? Well, if you go with the traditional Drop-Cover-&-Hold-On method, you might end up under a table that collapses due to the larger unstable structures around it. Okay, moving on.

If you’re outdoors, stay away from buildings, power lines and the like. Apparently, they also have signs with an S on them to indicate safe places to stand, so hopefully we’ll be outdoors and near an S sign every time an earthquake hits. (Right.)

The goal is to stay safe and to help others stay safe while we’re down there. God-willing, I will write about the first earthquake we encounter so stay tuned.

What about you? Have you ever experienced an earth quake? We’re kind of newbs here, so we’d appreciate hearing about your experiences and recommendations.

I’m going to have to write about volcanoes sometime soon because Arequipa is right next door to El Misti. El Misti is the most popular volcano in Peru and one of its most active volcanoes. They say that its history of explosive eruptions make it one of the world’s most dangerous volcanoes. Death by volcano? No thank you. I have high hopes that it won’t explode while we’re there.

* * * * *

For more information about earthquakes, and specifically those in Peru, check out this link.

For those of you who’d like to keep up-to-date on earthquakes in Arequipa (*cough* mine and Bear’s mothers), please click here. You just have to type “Arequipa, Peru” in the search bar at the top, and you’ll have an update on the most recent earthquakes.

What do you think about these survival pack ideas?


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