Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Ground is Shaking

I'm going to go ahead and interrupt the Great America coverage to report our first earthquake. I was home and Jonathan was at work (Monday morning). I had gone down for breakfast, returned, and was writing while the television was on. The building was being extra creaky, but I figured maybe someone was moving in so they were bumping walls and stuff.

Time goes on, I continue with my project, when out of nowhere, there's a shaking sensation. After the first two seconds, I was pretty sure it was an earthquake. I unplugged my laptop, grabbed it, and high-tailed it over to the bedroom doorway. By the time I got there it was pretty much over, but I stayed there another 30 seconds or so, since I knew that some earthquakes have aftershocks. Then, my cell rang, so I went back to the couch and grabbed it, retreating to the doorway to answer. It was Jonathan, asking if I felt anything. We briefly discussed each other's experiences, and then it became clear how hyped up on adrenaline I was, from excitement. I've been wanting to experience an earthquake since we moved here, and here we go! Not gonna lie, it was a pretty neat experience that many people never have. It's not the thrilling event that you want to have start your every day, but it wasn't bad.

Jonathan's building at work has a tendency to sway a bit anyway, so at first it was a little unclear what was going on. But, he said that it felt like the shaking was up-and-down (mine was more side-to-side), so he knew it was something different. Of course, being in an office allowed him to hear all sorts of chatter about the earthquake.

The quake itself was a 4.3 on the 1-10 scale, so it's a weak one, but still noticeable. The center/starting point/origin (I don't know my seismographic vocabulary) wasn't all that close to our place (southeast of us), so I'm glad that we still felt it (and apparently they even felt it up in San Francisco, which is a good 50 miles from here). Very little damage was reported, according to websites such as this one and this one. All in all, it was nothing to worry about, but neat to talk about.


  1. My goodness! Even a small one like that would have TERRIFIED me. I guess there isn't much to worry about out there, though, since most of the buildings are designed to withstand up to like a 7.0 (am I correct?), and anything more intense than that rarely happens (knock on wood).

    Sounds like an exciting way to start the day, indeed! And the fact you had the presence of mind to take your laptop with you is commendable. As I mentioned, I probably would have just freaked out and run head-on into the wall in the confusion. :)

  2. I think a big one might have freaked me out, but I was pretty much plain excited that it finally happened. I'm glad I saved the laptop, but I think it's funny it didn't cross my mind to grab my phone.

    I actually am not sure on the building code, although I do know that structural damage does not usually start until a 5.0.

    The weird thing is (and I'm comparing it to hurricanes in this sense) that regardless of how long ago the last one was, there's no way to tell when the next one will be. It could be tomorrow, next month, or in five years!