A strange phenomenon occurs to those who have lived through a severe earthquake. People seem to acquire the symtoms of a syndrome I have named, “STSS.” That stands for Super Tuned Sysmic Sensor Syndrome. People with the syndrome are able to sense earth movements that even the sensitive equipment at USGS does not pick up. Twenty four hours a day the STSS people are on high alert for any sound or shimmy that might indicate an aftershock or new earthquake.
Last night our friend Rich reported one such sensation that sounded like the hillside near his home was falling down. His neighbors closer to the hill also felt it and were seen running out into the roadway at about 12:30 in the morning fearing the whole hill was sliding down.
So this morning I hopped on my bicycle to ride up the road to see if the hillside had fallen.
There was a landslide last night. Whether it came from a new tremor or was just some debris loosened by one of the earlier earthquakes I can not say. The pile of debris was not impressive, but I imagine this amount of falling soil and rocks did create quite a commotion.
The people who live in this home at the end of Rich’s road had good reason to run as the dirt slid to within inches of their carport area.
And the recent slide is undoubtable a precusor of more to come. Quite a bit of loose soil sits poised to fall up the hillside.
A broader view of the entire hill shows evidence of many recent and older slides.
As I was taking these pictures I was humming an old hymn entitled, “Firm as the Mountains Around Us.” The hymn speaks of having faith as strong and firm as the mountains.
Somehow the analogy did not seem apropriate as it pertains to this particular hillside.
Two days after the big earthquake had rumbled through coastal Ecuador, the mountain behind our friend Jackie’s house had a major slide that crashed through her wall and filled much of the lower level of her home with rocks and soil.
After many days of work with heavy equipment and trucks the workers have removed much of the soil and are preparing to repair her wall.
Hopefully the hillside will settle down and stay in place for a long time.
Meanwhile, I believe I will sing a different tune placing my faith in something even more substantial than the mountains around us.
Life is good (a little bit back from the hillside) in Ecuador!