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Justin M. Stoddard


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Dispatches From Afghanistan #17
October 22, 2009 — 8:17 pm

Subject: And Then, The Earthquake Came

So, there I was, sleeping soundly in my bunk…not a care in the world (save the 30 degree temperature, for which I finally donned my pair of uber sweet synthetic long johns…but that’s a different story). Around 1am, my bed started to shake and squeak pretty violently. This is usually due to someone trying to navigate their way up to the top bunk. Since the bed above me has been blissfully empty for the past couple of weeks, I slowly came out of a deep sleep with this dismaying thought in mind. But, as I looked around in the semi-dark, I could not make out any appendages or torsos flailing around.

Then, I noticed that every other bunk (all 24 of them) were making the same squeaking sound. My first thought was an explosion of some type. But, there was not a sound aside from the beds squeaking and an occasional “What the fu%&” made from some of my room mates. Then it hit me. We were having an earthquake, and a rather sustained one at that.

A few of us got up (many slept right through it) and made our way to the hallway where still more people were up, groggily looking around. After we had all confirmed amongst our selves that it was, indeed, an earthquake, we turned around and went back to bed.

Well, physically, anyway. I could not fall back asleep for the next two hours. Luckily I had the Internet at my beck and call. I quickly updated my Facebook page and went looking for information. The USGS website had information up within minutes. We had just experienced a 6.2 earthquake. The center of it was about 200 km off to the northeast. The epicenter was located about 200 miles below ground, so much of the energy had dissipated before it leveled. After checking the news, there appears to be no significant damage done and no fatalities reported. Just another day in Afghanistan.

Oh, apparently we are sitting upon one of the most massive fault lines in the world. I’ve been told that if it were to go, pretty much all of Afghanistan and half of Pakistan would be devastated.

I really, really miss St. Louis right about now.

Hope everyone is well!

— Justin M. StoddardComments (0)

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