Seismic Activity in PNG

Here is the promised picture of the ‘gutpela luk luk’ or view from my bedroom window which is up 1000 feet above Madang, the town hidden in the trees on the coastline below. While I was sitting in my bedroom on Saturday afternoon resting- I felt what I thought was a strong gust of wind shake the building.  However, the curtains were not billowing as usual and the considerable shaking didn’t stop.  It was my first earthquake in PNG!  Coming from California it didn’t seem too out of place but it was surprising nonetheless.  The shaking stopped after about 30 seconds and it wasn’t strong enough to damage anything or even knock things off the shelves.  Earthquakes are a normal part of life in PNG and the seismic activity has had a big impact on the culture through geography.  In the chapter Long Taim Bipo from the book Papua New Guinea by Sean Dorney- he describes the geography of PNG stating that “Geographically it is a young, violent land.  Located between the old, stable continental mass of Australia and the Pacific Ocean’s deep basin, the segment of the earth’s crust on which most of PNG sits is highly mobile.  The friction caused by its constant movement has created the folded and faulted mountain ranges which continue to shake and occasionally explode to this day.”  So I don’t mind the earthquakes but hopefully I will be able to steer clear of the volcanoes.

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