Update: Another tremor felt in Doha on 16 April 2013. See here.
Everyone is talking about the Qatar Quake. Now it’s more of a sway than a Quake. Over at QSTP the feeling was quite smooth. Like a boat gently rocking. First thought was that someone was shaking their leg and causing the table to shake. Got annoyed for a moment. Looked around and saw everyone looking outside and we were immediately evacuated.
Funny, even the earthquakes are chilled out in Qatar.
After evacuating the building, I got onto the Tweet machine to see who else felt it. Some thought they were dreaming, some felt nothing and thought it was a joke, and most people were surprised. ‘No No, it’s not an earthquake, Qatar’s just trying to show the world how to do a proper Harlem Shake”. People felt it in Bin Mahmoud, Westbay, Education City area, Old Salata, Airport Road, The Pearl, and other areas.
So what’s the deal? We didn’t really have an earthquake, it was just the aftershock from an Earthquake in Southern Iran. Reports say that their earthquake was anything from 5.4 – 6.4 in magnitude. It was felt in UAE and Bahrain too.
So what happened in Qatar? I was actually happy to see so many people tweeting pics of buildings that were evacuated.
A few that did a great job taking this seriously were QSTP, Ministry of Defence, Qatar Airways, some buildings in the Pearl (yes only some took it seriously. Sabban Tower management for example did nothing according to a tweet shared with us), Al Mana Towers, ictQatar, and The Pearl itself restricted access into the location for a while.
I actually asked people to take note of whether or not their building did anything. You’ll know if you can trust them now or not. You’ll also know that you should put in a complaint to get the management to take things seriously.
It was a different feeling for different people. Some felt nothing, some said that it was quite extreme. Personally, I think that for most people that live here in Qatar and haven’t experienced an earthquake, their reactions might be slightly exaggerated. Having said that, if you were in higher floors in buildings, then you would have felt it much more than others (wider range of motion, albeit slower). That’s physics!
Let’s look at this from a positive perspective. Luckily, since this was a tiny little motion, perhaps it was a good thing. Perhaps this will show off the low quality buildings and highlight the ones that were constructed very well?
According to a friend working on Westbay projects, the towers all comply with Quake Code regulations. That’s a comfort.
Someone kindly tweeted a link to Earthquake Safety Measures. Thanks @neethatx.
Now, people said that it was a shock (no pun intended), since it was the first time ever that this happened. That’s not true.
In 1998 there was quite a shake up which caused a few pot holes to form.
On the 20th of July 2010 the Metreology department confirmed there was a slight tremor, but it was in the north east of the country and not many people felt it. Source
On the 18th of January 2011, there was a post on iCNN stating that a slight quake (most probably another aftershock) occured for 20 seconds. Source It was later confirmed that it was due to a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Pakistan that caused the aftershock. Source
So there you have it everyone. Stay calm when it happens, check out the quick guide of what to do above, make sure to tweet AFTER you’ve exited the building, and stay safe 😀