Thursday, November 09, 2006

Earthquakes

My friends in other parts of the world will cringe at this, but we had an earthquake last night, and it was of the "fun" sort. It registered a 4.0 on the Richter Scale, which is kind of a moderate/mild one, and was centered just about 8 miles from us. This was the sort that will wake you up, with a very sharp jerk and tremendous boom, louder than any thunder. The noise is always the part that gets to me, not the rockin' and rollin' To think that such an enormous sound comes right up from the very earth beneath me is a bit frightening. What in the world could cause such a sound? Think about it.......
The fun comes in when everyone has to ask each other, "Well, did you feel that one?" And laugh at the folks who might be fairly new to California and maybe it's their first; or be amazed at the ones that can sleep thru it. A 4.0, if you're in bed, feels vaguely like someone drove their car into your bed. The shaking goes on for a long minute or so. I've been in 2 really big, very serious quakes, and one smaller one - that one was really funny. I was in the bathtub and the tub cracked right under me! Water sloshed onto the floor, and my Mom yelled from the hall - "Susan! Don't get water all over the floor!" Like I could stop it! I was in a big quake in southern California in February of 1971, driving for the first time on a freeway. I was newly licensed, had Mom riding shotgun, a trailer full of motorcycles hitched on, and my brothers and boyfriend in the back of the van. When the quake hit, I thought I had a flat tire, or maybe the trailer did, and I slowed waaaay down. About then, an overpass less than 1/4 mile in front of us just fell straight down. It landed on a pickup truck, flattened all but the last 3 feet or so of the truck bed. Very traumatizing - to this day I am afraid of overpasses and bridges. In 1989, we had another very big quake that dropped part of the elevated Embarcadero freeway near San Francisco, and broke sections of the Bay Bridge which runs across the bay from Oakland to San Francisco, (more or less). During that one, I looked out my kitchen window at the fields behind the house, and watched them roll - the way a quilt rolls when you shake it from one end. In waves. Totally amazing. The earth looked fluid, I'll never forget it. My oldest son rode it out sitting on top of his first car and he described it as somewhere between a Disneyland "E" ticket ride, and rollercoaster with a broken track. We pretty much take these in stride, at least most of the long-time residents. When my daughter was in the Air Force and stationed in Texas, she experienced a tornado. That scared the bejabbers out of her, and when someone teased her about coming from earthquake-land, she shot back, "Hey! When the earthquake is over, at least you're still in the same zip code!!" Funny stuff! If you've never felt an earthquake, hopefully you'll get to at some point, really! It is an awe inspiring display of Earths might. It's an object lesson in how frail we are, and how much we are NOT in control of as much as we think. In some odd way, Californians are proud of our earthquakes, and get some little bit of pride from the fact that folks in Ohio wouldn't dream of coming to California, lest they fall victim to an earthquake. LOL! To those people I say, "Hey! At least we stay in the same zip code!" Cheers ---

4 comments:

Hedgehog said...

Interesting to hear about your earthquake experiences! I'm from Maine, so give me a good blizzard any day. The only earthquake I've been in was in Romania. It just happened to be the night the Red Sox won the World Series. I'll never forget either event!

KCQuilter said...

Wow, earthquakes--scary! Tornadoes and floods, though, are the catastrophes-of-the-day in these parts!!

soccertxi said...

I'm one of those nervous Nellies! We were at a vacation house in Cambria a couple of yrs ago. At around 5 am we had an earthquake...just above 4 I think. The people sleeping in the basement were up the stairs SO fast I doubt their feet hit more than one or two. I was not a happy camper till I hit the CA/AZ border!

Rosy said...

Mmmm....Yah, I've felt a earthquake one time while I was on the commode!!! I thought DH ran into the house w/tractor!!! But your reaaally had big rock and rollers!!