diamond geezer

 Monday, January 30, 2023

Some natural events are so rare that we may experience them only once in a lifetime (or, depending on where we live, frequently or never).

So today I'm asking you to consider how many of the big natural events you've experienced and award yourself a score out of 10.
Score 2 if you've properly experienced one of these...
earthquake
volcanic activity
hurricane/typhoon
tornado
(or 1 if you sort-of have)

...then add 1 if you've experienced one of these...

tsunami
avalanche/landslide

...to get a score out of 10.
If you're not sure whether your experience counts as 2 or 1, give it a 1.
If you're not sure whether your experience counts as 1 or 0, give it a 0.

Here's a special comments box for your scores.  your scores

Please read the rest of the post before you commit to a total.
And please keep it brief - there are separate comments boxes further down the post for your memorable experiences.

My score is 3.
That's E1 V1 H0 T1 (t0 a0) =3

And here's how I calculated it.


EARTHQUAKE: 1
I have experienced an earthquake and what's more I was at home in London when it happened. It was 12.56am on 27th February 2008, I was in bed and most importantly I was wide awake with the light on. All was quiet when suddenly a metal rail at the foot of the bed started to vibrate. I watched the coathangers on the rail start to sway, I felt my bed shake a little and I heard the walls of my building creak. It only lasted for a few seconds. These events could have occurred for all sorts of reasons but I had a hunch it might have been an earthquake. Twitter was already a thing back then so it was possible to get wider confirmation pretty quickly rather than being left wondering, and I had indeed experienced my first earthquake.



This was the Market Rasen earthquake of 2008 which at 5.2 on the Richter scale was the strongest earthquake in the UK since 1984. Only four other earthquakes have exceeded 5.0 in the last 100 years, that's Dogger Bank 1931 (6.1), Derby 1957 (5.3), Llŷn Peninsula 1984 (5.4) and Bishop's Castle 1990 (5.1). London last saw earthquake damage in 1580 and before that 1382 because being distant from plate boundaries has its benefits. Other countries face far more serious risks and experience much larger quakes, indeed you'll almost certainly have to have been outside the UK to score a 2 in today's challenge. My coathanger-shaking experience was piddly by comparison but I have experienced an earthquake and for that I score 1.

n.b. I was lucky to be awake at 1am. I'd had a very long day at work because others weren't pulling their weight and major deadlines were approaching so I was late home, and then with stuff to do I was still up writing my diary at the end of the shipping forecast. Had the earthquake happened one day later I'd have been fast asleep and scored 0. As it happened my annoying work overload scored me 1.
n.b. I was in San Francisco exactly 100 years after the Big One standing by Lotta's Fountain for the big centenary commemoration at 5:12am, but that (thankfully) scores 0.
n.b. I can't tell you precisely where the dividing line between a 2 and a 1 is, but if you thought "eek, it's an earthquake" it might be a 2 and if you thought "oh, it's an earthquake" it's probably a 1.

VOLCANO: 1
I've never been up to the crater of a big volcano and I have never seen a volcano erupting so I can't have a 2. I'm awarding myself a 1 because I went part of the way up Eyjafjallajökull shortly after it erupted and stood on a thick layer of ash that had previously been a meltwater lake. It was 2010 when Eyjafjallajökull brought European air traffic to a halt and 2011 when I went on holiday to Iceland and plumped for the volcanic jeep tour option. We zipped up the Markarfljot valley to the snout of the glacier which used to be sparkling and white but was now grey and impregnated with ash. It was quite a sight.



"Don't go too far away," said our tour guide. "This grey volcanic landscape is highly unstable as you can see from those deep pits over there, which before long are going to grow and coalesce. Hopefully that won't happen while we're standing nearby but driving a jeep onto the ash layer can't have helped, indeed maybe we shouldn't be up here at all." It was a cracking experience, though thankfully not catastrophically so. I keep a chunk of ash from Eyjafjallajökull on a table in my hallway.

n.b. If I'd only seen Eyjafjallajökull from a distance that would have been a 0.
n.b. Going up Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh is also a 0 - extinct volcanoes are too easy.
n.b. If you've seen glowing magma fresh from the bowels of the earth that's got to be a 2.

HURRICANE: 0
I have never been in, under or near a hurricane. The only time I went to Florida the weather was mercifully calm, although we were asked to descend the LC-39 Observation Gantry at the Kennedy Space Center because a thunderstorm was approaching. The only designated hurricane at the time, Alberto, was busy pootling around the mid-Atlantic and Debby wasn't due to hit until a week later. I dodged a bullet there because a nasty windstorm would have totally messed up my Disney World plans, and that's why I'm still a 0 on the hurricane front.

n.b. The Great Storm of 1987 was not a hurricane so that scores 0.
n.b. hurricanes, typhoons... the only difference is the ocean so they both count.
n.b. I can't tell you precisely where the dividing line between a 2 and a 1 is, but if you thought "blimey it's wet and windy" it might be a 1 and if you thought "sheesh this is frightening" it's probably a 2.

TORNADO: 1
I spotted my first and only tornado in June 2021 while walking along the Greenway near West Ham station, because a raised path across a flat landscape is a good place to get a great view of the sky. Storms had been forecast but I hoped I'd dodge the nearest and get to my destination before getting soaked. But that cloud looks odd, I thought, I swear I can see it changing shape in a bubbly swelling manner and maybe poking down a bit. You don't normally see clouds changing that fast so something must be up. I still regret not taking a photo.

I didn't see a funnel of cloud reach the ground and I was three miles away so experienced no ill effects other than it looking weird. Only later did I discover that a tornado touched down around the same time in Barking's backstreets so I had in fact been watching the evolution of a tornado. I watched all sorts of shaky phone footage with interest (that would have been a 2), but my observation of explosive convection only scores me 1.

n.b. If you judge by density of phenomena the UK is supposedly the tornado capital of the world with an average of 30 tornadoes recorded each year, but most are pretty weak.
n.b. The continental USA suffers the strongest tornadoes so that's where you'll find the most 2s.

TSUNAMI: 0
Very few people, thankfully, experience a proper tsunami and I am not one of them. A few measly ripples on a beach probably doesn't count. If you have seen one though then it's a maximum of 1 point (unless it was Boxing Day 2004 in which case sure, have a 2).
AVALANCHE/LANDSLIDE: 0
There's only 1 point available here too and it's for actually seeing an avalanche or landslide, not for coming upon a pile of debris afterwards. I've seen plenty of crumbled cliffs but I have never seen it happen.
And that's how I score a total of 3.
3 out of 10 is a bit poor, or perhaps unlucky, or arguably lucky because nobody wants to experience too many of these natural hazards.

If you've worked out your own total please add it to the first comments box several screens further up the page.
Phenomenon-specific anecdotes in the relevant boxes lower down, thanks.
And any general comments below. Let's see who's the most disaster prone of all.


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan24  Feb24  Mar24
Jan23  Feb23  Mar23  Apr23  May23  Jun23  Jul23  Aug23  Sep23  Oct23  Nov23  Dec23
Jan22  Feb22  Mar22  Apr22  May22  Jun22  Jul22  Aug22  Sep22  Oct22  Nov22  Dec22
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21  Jul21  Aug21  Sep21  Oct21  Nov21  Dec21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

» my flickr photostream

twenty blogs
our bow
arseblog
ian visits
londonist
broken tv
blue witch
on london
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
linkmachinego
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
the greenwich wire
bus and train user
ruth's coastal walk
round the rails we go
london reconnections
from the murky depths

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
20 years of blog series
The DG Tour of Britain
London's most...

read the archive
Mar24  Feb24  Jan24
Dec23  Nov23  Oct23  Sep23
Aug23  Jul23  Jun23  May23
Apr23  Mar23  Feb23  Jan23
Dec22  Nov22  Oct22  Sep22
Aug22  Jul22  Jun22  May22
Apr22  Mar22  Feb22  Jan22
Dec21  Nov21  Oct21  Sep21
Aug21  Jul21  Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2023 2022
2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
2006 2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
metro-land
capital ring
river fleet
piccadilly
bakerloo

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
boredom
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters
iceland

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
thunderbirds
routemaster
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
amsterdam
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
typewriters
doctor who
coronation
comments
blue peter
matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
itv