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Earthquake!

I went to Norway for a vacation 6 years ago and we were sitting down to a nice dinner with our long lost relatives (literally in Tønjum, Norway) and we experienced an earthquake. It was the first one I’ve ever been in and I think it registered somewhere on the 4 scale. So not too big.

My question: You’re in an earthquake. What’s the first thing that goes through your mind “ooooh, this is cool” or “ahahghhghg, run to safety!” or “how boring.” Have you ever been in an earthquake?

By Chris Tingom

Principal of Tornado Design, a Phoenix, AZ based web consultancy

7 replies on “Earthquake!”

Chris, I’ve been in a few earthquakes, including one which was in the 6 scale.

I feel worried, but I’m not one to be completely terrified, I don’t move anywhere, I just stay put where I am waiting for it to be over. Maybe I should be more careful about my own safety.

Yeah, I was in a 5.3 earthquake in Turkey once, but no one got hurt as far as I know. At first I was a bit scared, but it didn’t last too long, so it wasn’t like traumatic or anything. 😛

About 10 years ago, Easter Sunday, we wer gathered around the kitchen table playing a game, when an earthquake happened. It was a relativley small one but everything shook for about 15 seconds or so. We usually don’t get that much excitement on Easter in Central Pennsylvania.

I was quite young when the ’89 Loma Prieta quake hit the Bay Area, but I remember a good deal of fear as we were pushed behind the couch at my day care in an attempt to find some cover. That quake lasted all of ten seconds, I think, which is a really long time for the ground to be rumbling like a Mack truck is a foot away. Then there’s the aftermath: trying to get in touch with people, assessing damage – the big ones are never fun.

Living in the Valley, I’ve experienced a dozen smaller quakes though, most of which have just led to a disconcerting moment and the usual, “cool, an earthquake! This really is California!” reaction. There’s something weird in the culture here – we’re proud of the fault lines and proud to have earthquakes and when the little ones roll through it’s like a reaffirmation of that source of pride. Crazy Californians, right?

I have been through some pretty good sized earthquakes in California. The Morgan Hill quake hit while I was standing in the library at my high school. I went to high school in Morgan Hill, so we were only a few miles from where the quake originated and it was a 6.2 quake. Giant book cases were swaying back and forth and all I could think about was, I’m not letting these books crush me… so I stood up and gave the book case a shove and sure enough, just like the movies, row after row fell like dominoes.
The other biggie was the Loma Prieta a 7.1 quake that hit during the world series. I was driving in my little Toyota pickup and I thought the wheels were falling off the thing. Light poles were swaying so hard that they were almost touching the ground. I turned around and drove back home to find my wife crying in the driveway holding my dog on a leash. I didn’t realize how bad the quake was because being the truck must have softened the blow because joking with my wife, I rolled down my window and said “Hey, did you order a shake?”

Lonnie
http://www.myazonline.com

So, for those of us who have never experienced a quake, can someone give a detailed description? I mean, I’ve always wondered is it like what they show in the movies? Things falling off the shelves and your not able to keep you balance? Do you actually feel the ground changing direction under your feet? Is it loud and overbearing like it is portrayed?

…I’m ok with never being in one as long as I live ;), but I am curious.

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