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Long Zhiren
Difference is that everyone here *knows* that an Earthquake could strike at any time

Actually, the difference is that almost nobody in NZ remembers an earthquake as big as this one has been. It's been over 70 years since NZ got anything half this big. China's had a few since then. There's not much an engineer can do for anything this big. You can't even design a road to stay intact with this kind of thing. Only a boat (parked on a flat plain) or an aircraft (in the sky) has any chance; and that too will get a good rocking.

We'll all be waking up to some pretty grim news from China tomorrow morning.

Thank goodness the mountains and many miles separate the epicenter from bigger centers of population, except it means it'll take a bit of effort to get help to the area that needs it most. No doubt, the roads are messed up pretty good. A lot of helicopters might work better.

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ipsi()

That's true, and I'm very grateful that I've never lived through one. Even so, I'd hope that everything that's done would at least reduce the damage this would cause. Anyway, we're kinda getting a bit off-topic here.

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Long Zhiren

If anyone gets a chance, they should take a look at San Francisco airport's new terminals. They're essentially giant boats on land. Every column sits on a giant 5 ft diameter steel ball bearing. The thing floats on land.

Unfortunately, most of the land that it sits on is...landfill.

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self-taught-mba
Only a boat (parked on a flat plain) or an aircraft (in the sky) has any chance; and that too will get a good rocking.

So an airplane will get a good rocking too? :)

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Long Zhiren
So an airplane will get a good rocking too?

Yes. The air column above an earthquake is affected by the movement of the ground underneath, which could look quite spectacular.

There's not much data on it. It would be more noticeable if you were in a blimp, as was the confirmation of the phenomenon during the World Series game when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occured. If you're in a plane, I suppose it would feel negligible compared to normal turbulance.

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roddy

Muyongshi, good to see you online.

Death toll is now pushing up towards 10,000.

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fanglu

Here in Xi'an the sensation of the ground moving was very apparent and everyone ran outside. Even on the ground it was like being on a rocking boat. After it stopped the police went around campus telling everyone not to go back into their buildings because there could be more earthquakes, but like good foreigners we all ignored them and the international student building was the only dormitory with students in it for a couple of hours. Later the school announced that no one was allowed back into their buildings until 10pm, (which later turned into about 11.30) so we joined the chinese students outside. They did let people back inside to get things though, which meant that the campus lawns looked a bit like the quieter parts of a music festival, with tents, blankets and people sitting around drinking and playing cards and mahjong, all illuminated by the glow of laptops. Once it was announced we could go into the buildings though everyone cleared off pretty quickly; it was pretty cold.

Also, there's also no classes this morning. I guess they decided we needed to recover.

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muyongshi

Quick update:

It is bad weather and sprinkling and they are advising (locally not sure if this is an official advisory) everyone to remain outdoors for 2 more nights. Too many people are scared to be in there house for more than 10 minutes (I personally have no problem staying in doors, most buildings are completely structurally sound with only a few being real bad!). The students at the local universities are the worst in my mind as they are being forced to stay on campus with nothing to do except TRY to stay warm and dry. We have had aftershocks as late as 7:30 or 8 am this morning. Very possibly could be more.

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imron

More or less the same here in Beijing. People in the office starting asking others if they felt dizzy, we decided to leave when we saw the lights shaking, taking the stairs along with a bunch of others.

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shibole

I hope everyone is OK and that the death toll doesn't rise.

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cdn_in_bj

It's very shocking to read about the extent of the damage and casualties from the earthquake. And I fear that this is just the beginning as many of the sticken parts are fairly isolated and the roads leading to them are in bad shape.

As for why they closed the airport in Chengdu, this eyewitness report gives some clues:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4524557a12.html

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xiaocai
The New York Times is running a piece that somehow manages to combine the topicality of the earthquake with a Chinese language lesson:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/20...e-appropriate/

Big deal! And there are people who feel angry for the reasons you-know-what.

As a Chinese I very much appreciate his caring and effort as well. Just called my family at Chengdu last night, and they are doing fine now but still need to stay outside overnight for two more days in case of aftershocks. And I feel really very sad for those who lost their lives in the disaster, many of which are secondary school students... :(

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Lu

With all the earthquakes here people know the difference between feeling dizzy and earthquake, so I was the only one who wasn't quite sure, when I looked at my coworker to ask: is it me or...?, he said it was an earthquake, with a look of: didn't you get that yet?

It wasn't very hard here, so everyone just stayed put, and immediately when it was over someone looked up what and where it had been. I got worried when I heard Sichuan.

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Lu

Muyongshi, glad to see you're ok. And xiaocai's family as well.

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studentyoung
Muyongshi, glad to see you're ok. And xiaocai's family as well.

Bump! Indeed!

Cheers!

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aboooot

Dear friends,

I've heard about the earthquake and I'm really sorry for the devastation that it caused to your Country. I hope that all of you and your families are fine!

Good luck!

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ms2002sss

So what should you do? I have seen videos of people under tables. In American TV shows they stand in the doorway or under the stairs. On the news they were evacuating building?

What is the safest thing to do?

Also are the buildings in major Chinese citys more earth-quake proof? With more money and construction in China in recent times I wonder if newer buildings are more solid or if this is not taken into consideration as much as cost or speed?

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