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October 20, 1995 Earthquake

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On Friday, October 20, 1995, an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 rocked the Chiapas/Oaxaca border area. Considerable damage was done to some of the older cities in Chiapas; no damage was done 100 miles away in Bahías de Huatulco. No damage other than a few rather nervous moments. Ole Sharkbait was with a Scotswoman on her first night dive when a rather intense vibration and roar permeated the surrounding water at some ten meters of depth. At first, I thought Risco La Blanca was about to be the site of another Exxon Valdez disaster, but I've been in Cozumel when a cruise ship passed over. This was far more intense than that. My next thought was that I had a massive air leak somewhere, but a quick check proved that not to be the case. By that time I had it figured for a 'quake. Since the duration as well as the force was quite beyond anything I had experienced previously, I made my way with my charge to the lee of the island, just in case there was a tsunami. Fortunately, that fear proved unfounded. However, it was awesome watching the small particles vibrate off the rocks, dramatically reducing visibility. I am seriously considering submittal of an outline to PADI for a distinctive specialty course in Earthquake Diving!

John M. Williams
PADI Scuba Instructor

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