Biggest earthquake in country's history shakes South Korea
Unlike neighboring Japan, South Korea is not known for its seismic activity. But just yesterday, a record 5.8 magnitude quake centered around the city of Gyeongju shook much of the country, rattling residents as the ground cracked below them and skyscrapers swayed high above.
Fortunately, no major damage was reported, nor were there any fatalities, but the biggest recorded earthquake in South Korea struck a few nerves in a country that seldom experiences the sort of tremors that strike Japan, which is known to have the most earthquakes of any country in the world. On Monday, two earthquakes hit the historic city of Gyeongju, one registering a 5.1 and the other a 5.8. Despite the size of these quakes, the only reported real damage was broken windows, cracks in buildings and on the ground, and products falling off shelves at local supermarkets. But for a people that never experience the earth moving beneath them, the recent quakes were definitely enough to get them shaken up. Residents living in an 80 story high-rise in Busan told reporters that they felt the building "shudder."
Hours after the two big quakes, there have been over 45 aftershocks, each with a magnitude of around 2 or 3. The Korean government has set up the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters, to assess the damage and figure out preventative measures for future tremors. Despite its past of being safe from earthquakes, geologists have suggested that the recent Japanese megaquake in 2011, along with the continued seismic activity around Japan, has destabilized the fault lines in Korea, making the peninsula more earthquake prone than ever before. According to experts, the fact that four out of Korea's nine biggest quakes of all time have happened in the last two years says something about what's to come in the future. On Tuesday, government officials were scheduled to have an emergency meeting, to discuss how to safeguard the country from large earthquakes in the years to come. Not too large, hopefully.