Friday, August 3

shaky morning

Readers in California, Alaska and Japan might chuckle when they see the ink blot on this seismograph that had residents of the western German town of Koblenz worried sick on Friday morning: An earthquake with a nearby epicenter that measured 4.0 on the Richter scale roused them from their beds at 5 a.m. local time. But since quakes are not exactly common in Germany, hundreds of people called emergency services asking for advice. According to officials, about 25 to 50 earthquakes occur in the region every year, but most are less than 3.0 on the Richter scale. "Big" ones like the one on Friday morning happen only once a decade.

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