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Old 04-05-2010, 11:00 AM   #1
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An earthquake question to the CA posters

I know this is a silly question but with the recent Baja quake in the news it occurred to me again.
Does an earthquake feel any different if you are in a vehicle?

I've always wondered if the vehicle suspension either helps nullify or maybe magnifies the effects of an earthquake.
Just one of those things I'm curious about.

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Old 04-05-2010, 11:23 AM   #2
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

My experience is it depends upon the outside environment. If I see trees, traffic lights, lightpoles...swaying, I translate that visual indicator into what my body is feeling. Without those visual indicators, I generally don't notice the earthquake if I'm in a vehicle. Of course, there are a lot of variables here.


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Old 04-05-2010, 11:37 AM   #3
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

The big one in SF moved me around even though I was 90 miles away but I was in a Class A vehicle. It felt like I had steering problems. Once stopped the vehicle continued to rock and watching the power lines I knew then what was going on.
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:49 AM   #4
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

The vehicle suspension and movement will hide and mask most of the ground movement. Especially at lower speeds. After a good shake, often you can see several cars pulled over looking at wheels, tires etc. Most up and down motion is absorbed by the suspension (just like bumps and potholes) while side to side motion makes you think something is wrong with the steering.

If it is bad enough that you know it is a quake from inside you vehicle, it is much worse outside.

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Old 04-05-2010, 01:52 PM   #5
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

I once was driving my van in Northern California, and when I got where I was going everyone asked if I had felt the "earthquake." I thought they were joking, cuz I felt nothing at all!!!
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:14 PM   #6
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
The vehicle suspension and movement will hide and mask most of the ground movement. Especially at lower speeds. After a good shake, often you can see several cars pulled over looking at wheels, tires etc. Most up and down motion is absorbed by the suspension (just like bumps and potholes) while side to side motion makes you think something is wrong with the steering.

If it is bad enough that you know it is a quake from inside you vehicle, it is much worse outside.

Mike
Whoops, I really meant to Especially at higher speeds. At low speeds, some motion can come through the suspension.

Mike
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Old 04-05-2010, 02:28 PM   #7
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

The strangest thing seems to happen to me, my driver seat is always wet after a nice little shaker. Must be the suspension.

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Old 04-05-2010, 05:34 PM   #8
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

I was driving in Santa Cruz during the Loma Prieta EQ. It felt like I had four flat tires all at once.

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Old 04-08-2010, 12:45 PM   #9
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

I was sitting in a parking lot next to a Hummer during the Paso Robles 6.8 quake. I was about 30 miles from the epicenter. The Hummer started moving around like it had air shocks on each wheel. I thought it was an odd thing for such an expensive vehicle. Then I noticed that my vehicle (Ford Explorer) was also shaking. The shaking got rather violent and I am sure that wheeels left the ground. My immediate concern was things and power lines falling on the car but I was in a clear spot. After the shaking stopped (feels like an eternity, but actually no more than 60 seconds) I carefully drove home since there was road damage, stuff on the road, etc.

This was my first earthquake when I had not been in a building. While it was probably a bit safer, it was clearly a more memorable experience.

I don't like earthquakes!!!
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Old 04-09-2010, 07:07 AM   #10
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Re: An earthquake question to the CA posters

My favorite, if you can call it that, was when I was backpacking at Granite Basin in Kings Canyon. The quake originated at Chalfant Valley, but was only earthquake that I heard before feeling. It seemed like the whole mountain let out a big groan, and then you felt a little swaying and could notice the trees moving. The more interesting part was coming out of the back country that day, and not knowing where it originated. We never really new if it affected home (lived in Orange County at the time) until we were driving home and finally heard it on the radio.
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