Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Rude Awakening

I think of myself as a morning person, but today was a bit much. At about 6:30am, there was a 4.4 magnitude earthquake about 40 or so miles from here. I am not sure if there was an initial jolt, but I awoke to the bed lilting and the mirrored doors to my closet shaking.

This was a gentle rolling sensation, nothing major. I figure I am a veteran of at least 15 earthquakes, ranging from tiny jolts to this one.

I was actually in the car with my father at the time it hit, he was taking me to school. Since the car has shocks and suspension, we didn't really feel anything. But, we saw people falling to the ground, power poles and power lines shaking, and a transformer blew out not far from us.

My sister, who was in her lazy college days and sleeping in, was unfortunate enough to be in our house. Our house was not far from the epicenter, and it took a beating. The bookcases in my sister's room fell over, dumping books onto her bed, which she was occupying at the time. Then apparently freaked out, she ran into the kitchen, which was a really bad move, as all the upper cabinets had been opened by the force of the shaking. They contained lots of glasses, china, and wine bottles, which ended up broken all over the floor. Cracks appeared in the ceiling, and a fountain that was in our backyard pond toppled over and broke. I'm not sure where she went to next, but she was fairly hysterical at this point, and probably went to stand under a doorway, which was the accepted school of thought at the time.

Recently, I heard that the experts said that standing under a doorway in an earthquake was a slightly silly thing to do. They now suggest that you go under something large and solid, such as a desk or kitchen table. But, you can't be by any glass or windows or you could get cut.

So, the little earthquake this morning was a little rude, but nothing compared of course, to the 9.0. I believe that every tenth of a point in magnitude equals ten times greater force. Nothing like a few earthquakes to remind us that we are not the ones who are really in charge.

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