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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Tarka in Taipei redux

back again... Yesterdays recconoitre to Miaoli was mission successful. Of course it wasn't a militaristic exercise (rather one of international cooperation) but sometimes it feels like a battle, just sitting though a 16 hour deluge of intellectual bombs dropped on you by your academic superiors and industry experts. It's no wonder to me, that given the opportunity on the free market, the Taiwanese (painting with a broad brush, I know) have very quickly dominated certain markets... they are smart, motivated and tireless.

It certainly didn't help that I only managed a few hours of sleep the previous night... thanks in part to a nice dinner that went on later than it should have (I made a rustic bolognese sauce that started with braising beef bones, more on it later). The real shock came in the form of Surface Wave arrivals from the 5.3Mw earthquake we had that night. Granted, 5.3 is pretty small. By a seismologist's standards it's barely worth putting down your coffee for (though if you did put down your cup it might not even spill the coffee) but it was certainly enough to wake me from sleep. Oddly, this was the first earthquake I've experienced that actually woke me up... I've slept though a few before. It's an odd sensation to describe; like having your bed attached to elliptical orbit linear actuators, or more simply being shaken very smoothly but strongly. The first acceleration is a bit like the feeling of nodding off in seminar, smooth and suave but enough to grab your attention. Then the accelerations quickly build and oscillate and, then, slow as smoothly and suddenly as they started.

                  wom - woom -
                                                        - woom - wom

I woke with a start and got out of bed, pulling on pants and walking into the hallway where my hosts (PhD's currently working on post-doctoral work in coseismic neotectonics) were also a bit wide-eyed but all of us were smiling. "Cool" was what came out of my mouth and the statement was echoed by my hosts. The frogs in the garden outside had been quiet till now but spent the rest of the evening nervously singing in noisy concert and stopping in perfect unison at each humanly imperceptible aftershock. My fight-or-flight response had been triggered by the sudden awakening and so I spent a good deal of time trying to fall asleep, all too aware of the frogs' sensitivity to vibrations in the ground.


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