My National Geographic subscription caught up with me this week.
This month's The Big Idea section is an article on the world's earthquake hazard zones. The recent earthquakes in Chile and Haiti have called the world's attention to building materials and development.
All of that is very interesting. But what caught my attention was the map that graphically displayed the most hazardous areas for earthquakes.
I love maps.
As interesting as hazard areas in the Himalayas may be, I wanted to know how dangerous my small fishing village by the sea may be. But the world map scale was simply too big.
The internet came to the rescue. Even though it looks like an isobar weather map, the map at the top of this post shows the hazard risks for Mexico.
I already knew my beach town is not very stable. I receive several email each day about Mexico news stories. There are almost always at least two earthquake reports -- including the 4 April 2010 earthquake in Mexicali and Baja California with a magnitude of 7.2. (The Haiti earthquake was 7.0.) .
And there is experience. During the past year, I felt at least six earthquake tremors in Melaque. Nothing big. Just a distinct swaying. Tango dancers resolving their steps.
My first reaction in looking at the map was relief. After all, that nasty red gash that runs through the mountains on Mexico's Pacific coast is some distance from my place.
Unfortunately, red is not the highest risk. Dark brown is. And that is the color that surrounds my town.
If I am reading the graph correctly, that simply means there will be a major earthquake in my area during the next 50 years. Of course, the same is true for Salem.
So, what do I do?
Not much more than I was going to do before I read the article. I live in a well-constructed house with plenty of outdoor space.
Should I have an emergency food supply in my Mexican house? You bet. But that would be true for possible electricity failures and hurricanes. With or without earthquakes.
What it will not do is keep me away from Mexico. After all, it just adds another element to the adventure of living in Mexico.