Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why Costa Rica Has an Abundance of Earthquakes

Earthquakes happen everyday in Costa Rica, and that is a good thing. Costa Rica is a very active location geologically. The (normally) small quakes that occur here daily are the earth's way of relieving stress gradually. If we didn´t have many small quakes, we would eventually have a massive earthquake which would do tremendous damage and cost many lives.

Why is Costa Rica so active geologically?

A brief explanation of the earth's make up will help you understand this.

The earth is a sphere and has layers sort of like a jaw-breaker. There are four principle parts: crust, mantle, outer core, and inner core. For our explanation, you only need to understand about the crust and the mantle.

The earth's crust is a thin layer of material (compared to the actual size of the planet), rather like the peel on an apple. This layer of material is made up of rock strata and soil. It contains cracks which are called faults. The earth's crust is "floating" on the materials that make up the earth's mantle. The mantle is made up of rock type materials that are viscous. The crust is sort of like foam on top of a boiling liquid. Within the boiling liquid there are convection currents and the foam is moved across the surface by these currents. Pieces of the crust are not only floating on the mantle, they are being moved by the convection currents operating within it. These pieces of crust are called tectonic plates. There are two types of tectonic plates: Continental and Oceanic.

The Oceanic Plates are made up of dense material like basalt. The Continental Plates are made of a lighter material like granite. Although both of these plates are floating on the mantle, the continental plate, being lighter, floats more easily.

The earth has seven major plates and numerous smaller ones. Because of the mantle's convection currents these plates may be moving in one of three ways in relationship to each other. If the edges of the plates are sliding past one another you have a transform boundary like the San Andres Fault in California. Earthquakes there are caused when the two plates slide by one another. If two plates are moving away from each other (for example, one is moving east and the other west) you have a divergent boundary like the Great Rift Valley in Africa or the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. If two plates are moving toward each other you have a convergent boundary. This type of movement often happens at the edges of continentals, and this is the type of boundary found off the coast of Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is the meeting place of two major plates and a couple of smaller plates as well. The Caribbean Plate is moving west and the Cocos Plate is moving east. These plates meet head on just off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The leading edge of the Caribbean Plate is made up of the lighter continental material, and the leading edge of the Cocos Plate is made up of denser oceanic material. When they meet, the oceanic material sinks beneath the continental material. The earthquakes are caused by these two plates colliding and sliding over each other. Another by-product of this collision is volcanoes. And Costa Rica has plenty of those, too. (How the volcanoes form willl be explained in the next post.) Where the plates collide there is a deep trench offshore and this trench runs along Costa Rica's coast. As the plates push at each other, sometimes massive chunks of materials will break free as they move past one another. On the surface, we feel this as an earthquake.

How much do the plates move? Scientists estimate that they move about 10 centimeters a year. That doesn't seem like much, but remember that these gigantic slabs of material are pushing at each other. Stress and strain build up and when they finally jerk past each other, earthquakes are the result.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rocking and Rolling

Earthquakes are a daily happening here in Costa Rica. Not just one a day, but several a day. During the week of June 13-20, we had a total of 75 earthquakes. That´s an average of 9 a day!!!!! Here is a daily break down of last week's quakes.
June 13 - 4 quakes
June 14 - 8 quakes
June 15 - 10 quakes
June 16- 10 quakes
June 17 - 10 quakes
June 18 - 11 quakes
June 19 - 15 quakes
June 20 - 8 quakes

Many of the quakes are light tremors that are not noticable. However, our largest quake was on the 17th at 11:28 AM and measured 5.8 . The house groaned, the windows rattled, and the chandelier over the dining room table did a bit of swinging.

As a geologist (that's what I have my degree in, but God had other plans for me) I must admit that I find the quakes rather exciting. They happen so often here that most people don´t even pay any attention to all the rocking and rolling.

In my next post I will give a brief geology lesson about why Costa Rica is so prone to earthquakes and volcanoes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The Golden Phone

(Obviously not theologically correct, but cute)

It seems a man in Topeka, Kansas, decides to write a book about churches around the country. He starts by flying to San Francisco and working east from there. He goes to a very large church and begins taking pictures, etc. He spots a golden telephone on the wall and is intrigued with a sign which reads "$10,000 a minute." Seeking out the pastor, he asks about the phone and the sign. The pastor answers that this golden phone is in fact, a dirct line to Heaven, and if he pays the price he can talk directly to God. He thanks the pastor and continues on his way. As he continues to visit churches in Seattle, Boise, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Denver, and on around the United States, he find more phones with the same sign, and the same answer from each pastor. Finally, he arrives in the South. But THIS time the sign reads "Calls:25 cents." Fascinated, he asks to talk to the pastor.
"Reverend, I have been in cities all across the country, and in each church I found this golden telephone, and I have been told it is a direct line to Heaven and that I could talk to God, but in the other churches the cost was $10,000 a minute. Your sign reads 25 cents a call. Why?"
The pastor, smiling benignly, replies, "Son, you´re in the South now. It´s a local call."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kaiden´s Quilt #2

Just finished a second quilt of soon-to-arrive grandson Kaiden. Many months ago I received a box of craft supplies from some friends in Pennsylvania. In the box were some bandana hankerchiefs that had one corner cut off. For months I had been thinking about what I could do with them. This quilt is the result of all that brainstorming. It´s handquilted. Wanted to share a pic of this, Kaiden´s second quilt, with you all.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Roses from my garden.....

The rainy season is upon us......that means it rains -- ALOT. It is a rare day when it does not rain for at least half of the 24 hour period. My roses and gardenias are blooming their hearts out at the moment. Unfortunately, the pounding downpours beat the petals right off of them. So....I have been cutting them and bringing them inside to grace my table. They are just gorgeous and the whole house smells of gardenias and rose. Wanted to share a pic of them with you. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Baby Quilt Finished at Last

Just finished little Kaiden's quilt. I finished piecing it quite awhile back, but had to wait until I could find some batting down here in Costa Rica before I could quilt it. Completed the hand quilting on Thursday and did the binding yesterday. Hope to have the second quilt finished within a few more days and will post a photo of that one as well.


(First, let me be clear that I have no problems with Rednecks since I am one. The definition of a redneck is as follows: redneck - from the characteristic sunburned neck acquired in the fields by farm laborers. /slang/ a poor, white, rural resident of the South. In other words, a redneck is someone who works out-of-doors for a living and helps to feed the rest of the world. Certainly nothing wrong with that!)

A Redneck from Texas walked into a bank in New York City and asked for
the loan officer. He told the loan officer that he was going to Bakersfield
on business for two weeks and needed to borrow $5,000 and that he was not
a depositor of the bank.

The bank officer told him that the bank would need some form of security for
the loan, so the Redneck handed over the keys to a new Ferrari. The car
was parked on the street in front of the bank. The Redneck produced the
title and everything checked out. The loan officer agreed to hold the car
as collateral for the loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest.

Later, the bank's president and its officers all enjoyed a good laugh at
the Redneck from the south for using a $250 ,000 Ferrari as collateral for a
$5,000 loan.

An employee of the bank then drove the Ferrari into the bank's underground
garage and parked it.

Two weeks later, the Redneck returned, repaid the $5,000 and the interest
of $23.07.

The loan officer said, 'Sir, we are very happy to have had your business,
and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little
puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a
multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to borrow

The Texas Redneck replied, `Where else in New York City can I park my
car for two weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?'

and his name was BUBBA!

Friday, June 20, 2008


Mom, Mommy, Mama, Ma
Dad, Daddy, Dada, Pa, Pop


Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment.

Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call.

Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities!

Travel expenses not reimbursed.

Extensive courier duties also required.


The rest of your life.

Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.

Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly.

Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.

Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.

Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.

Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.

Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.

Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices.

Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.

Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.

Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.



Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


None required unfortunately.

On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


Get this! You pay them!

Offering frequent raises and bonuses.

A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent.

When you die, you give them whatever is left.

The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.


While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth, unconditional love, and free hugs and kisses for life if you play your cards right.


If you are fortunate enough you will become grandparents!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Medical Funds Update

From the desk of
Samuel Nolasco
APDO 129-2350
San Jose, Costa Rica, Central America
June 2, 2008

Dear Friends,
Greetings from Costa Rica in the name of our wonderful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on my surgeries and on the funds needed to complete the procedures.
As of today, I have received $7,082. toward the initial needed amount of $20,400 for my surgeries. Early last week, it was determined that I would need a bone graft on the left side of my upper jaw. This would be an additional $3,200. Since future procedures could not be done until the bone graft was completed and healed, I prayerfully made the decision to go forward with the graft. It was done on Thursday, May 29th. It will take at least a couple of weeks to heal before another procedure can be done. I am very thankful that God allowed me to find a dental surgeon who was willing to work with me as funds come available, and although I am still far from having the amount needed to complete the work, I am trusting that God through His people will provide what is needed.
I ask that you would continue to pray concerning my need and the procedures; that all would go well, that I would heal quickly, and that I will be able to manage the pain. Pray also that hearts will be touched to help with the funds needed to complete all the procedures. I am most grateful to those of you who have already helped with funding, and humbly pray that if it be God´s will others would also be willing to help me in this time of need.
May God´s richest blessings be yours.

In Christ,

Samuel Nolasco