Tag Archives: earthquake

You are Shaken but I am not Stirred

There was an earthquake today. Everyone in the house felt it except me. In my defense, I was on my to the, um, the “reading room”.

Without getting into too many details, I got up from my desk to “go to the reading room” and She Who Must Be Obeyed started saying “Earthquake? Is that an earthquake?”

All I could say was “Hey, I’m not that heavy” and,after I realized she was serious, “I don’t feel it.” I studied our usual indicators: hanging laundry, the pull cords on our ceiling lights and any drinks sitting around. Normally, in a quake these things start moving by themselves. Unfortunately, there were no drinks out and, because of the time of year, we have fans and the air conditioner on which messes up the cords and the laundry.

It took the official alert on television to confirm that, yes, there was an earthquake. (For the record: I never doubted her; I just didn’t feel it.)

This, oddly, is a normal occurrence during an earthquake. Although SWMBO is much more experienced with, and sensitive to earthquakes than I am, we are about 50-50 in feeling them when the other doesn’t.

I find that I don’t feel them if I’m moving around. Several weeks ago a big earthquake hit as I was walking to the train station from work. It shut down the trains while the safety people checked the tracks. Later, I heard about it on the news and everyone asked me if I’d felt it. I said I only saw its consequences; I didn’t feel it.

I also tend not to wake up during earthquakes that hit when I’m sleeping. On several occasions I’ve woken up after them, with a vague sense that something happened, but usually when I was quizzed about the previous night’s earthquake I could only say “I didn’t feel it.” or “I slept right through it”. One colleague pointed out that my wife and children could have been suffering and dying and I wouldn’t have known and I was like “why would I want to be awake for that?”

That said, I should probably start using the alert system that sends an alarm to your phone and gives you a few seconds to get to a safer position. However, knowing me, if it hit at night, I’d probably just hit “SNOOZE” and go back to sleep.

Shaken and a Bit Stirred

We got a two earthquakes this evening in rapid succession. The first was kind of humorous. The second started scaring us.

I’ve written before about how we used to get enough earthquakes that we got complacent, at least until the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, which made us get a lot more serious about our emergency plans and preps.

However, after several months, the aftershocks stopped and my sense is that we’ve had fewer earthquakes. We occasionally get a good shaker, but they don’t impress anymore. In fact, there was one last week when I walking to the station. I didn’t notice it and wondered why all the trains were running several minutes late. I didn’t learn about the quake until I got home.

Tonight, though, we had a small one that my oldest and I noticed. We felt a little shaking and noticed the pull strings on the ceiling lights swaying. She Who Must Be Obeyed and our youngest quickly turned on the news. This is a normal reaction. If I even notice the earthquake, I act as if it’s perfectly normal that everything is wiggling and SWMBO gets very serious.

A few minutes later, we got a bigger one. This one caused the ceiling lights themselves to rock. It went on long enough that SWMBO and our youngest got in the doorway and even I got serious and started eyeballing our emergency kits. After a minute or so it stopped but we are suddenly much more cautious.

Lately, even Kansas and Oklahoma have been going through a cycle of quakes. Although it’s fashionable to blame Fracking, the truth is much more ominous: earthquakes are more common in the Midwest than people like to admit (note, the data in the link ends around 1972).

The bright side is, at least you don’t have to deal with volcanoes. Well, at least not right now.