One thing I didn’t mention in the NY Times piece – there is another reason why some people act disappointed when they are told that earthquakes are not any more frequent. This is because they have in mind Matthew xxiv:7 “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall [...]

The Earthquake Mass

The reference to earthquakes in the Easter story is responsible for most of the appearances of earthquakes in the musical repertoire. The office of Lauds for Easter includes an antiphon on the text “And behold, there was a great earthquake, for the angel of the Lord descended from Heaven”.

The plainchant melody for this antiphon was [...]

Is your network blessed?

I was piqued to discover that in 1924 the Roman Catholic church saw fit to establish a rite for the blessing of a seismograph. Here it is in full:

Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

Priest: The Lord be with you.

The patron saint of seismology

To be more precise, the patron saint of protection against earthquakes is a certain St Emidius. The picture of him shown here is a detail of an annunciation scene by Carlo Crivelli, painted in 1482. The original is in the National Gallery in London.

St Emidius by Carlo Crivelli

St Emidius is on the right, the [...]

Good Friday

“Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent … Now when the centurion, and they that [...]

Tribal words for earthquake

In cases where the a study is being made of historical earthquakes in a low-seismicity and largely pre-literate area, one sometimes sees the argument made that the language of the local tribe has a word for earthquake, therefore they were familiar with the concept, therefore the area has been subject to earthquakes in the past.

Unfortunately, [...]