Science: World Shakers

At least 27 people were killed this week, when an earthquake shook Panay and four other Philippine islands, toppled Jaro Cathedral's campanile, cracked open streets, caused $500,000 damage.

History has recorded much greater catastrophes. Etna overflowed and 20,000 Sicilians died. An Indonesian crater blew its top, washed the sea over 36,000 Javanese and Sumatrans. Beneath Tokyo Bay, the earth shifted and two great cities were laid in ruins.

For a youthful cinder of two or three billion years, the earth has a lot of ailments. And man, the principal sufferer, knows precious little...

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