GREEN BAY - Wisconsinites in Japan felt the impact of the earthquake.
While many of us woke up to news of the earthquake, Marinette native Eric Leister experienced it.
"I was inside," Leister said over the phone. "I was talking with my host family and also an elderly woman when I started feeling some shaking, but they hadn't felt it yet. So we listened some more. Earthquakes happen very often in Japan. We were waiting to see whether it was a big one or not. While we were waiting we went down to the street and we were looking up at the sky. We were watching the buildings sway back and forth and the telephone poles shaking."
Leister is living with a host family in Tokyo, but has been in touch with his family in Marinette.
"I'm ok. I've been talking to my mom and dad. I'm only 20-years-old so this is very exciting and very scary. I never thought I would be a part of something like this," said Leister.
Nekoosa native Jason Gildenzpof was in a different part of Japan, but also felt the earthquake.
"I was just working in the office and another earthquake hit. We thought it would roll over really easily, and it turned out to be a shaker," said Gildenzpof by phone. "The earthquake here was a little less than the epicenter, so not too bad. But we have some homes, the walls have caved in. Actually have a big crack in one of my door frames, it seems to be split a bit."
"It's an interesting event, but it's not extremely rare," explained UW-Green Bay geoscience professor Steve Dutch. "It's noteworthy because that part of Japan hasn't had an earthquake in a while which is probably why they had such a big one. It's kind of like you bottle something up and eventually it releases."
Dutch says essentially the quake happened because hot material in the earth rose, while cool material sunk. He says damage in Japan will be in the billions of dollars, and the event was a bit smaller than the 2004 tsunami. However, Dutch says, the impact will be less because Japan is an advanced, "earthquake conscious" country.
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