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Old 08-23-2011, 03:14 PM   #1
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My first earthquake.

Being a life long resident of West Virginia I've always wondered what a earthquake felt like. There has never been one in my lifetime and seeing how the membership on this forum leans to the west coast I'd asked others here to describe their experiences. Well today I found out for myself.
There was a 5.9 quake centered about 230 road miles (crow miles would be much shorter) from me today. I was in a meeting listening to a Google vendor wanting to sell us something when the table started to shake. There was that initial feeling where you're not sure if the table is actually moving or was it just that extra burrito I had for lunch or a flashback to some blotter from the 70's.
Then I noticed the other people in the meeting room looking around with the "Do you feel that too?" look on their faces.
As quakes go I'm sure this wasn't much by comparison but it was still pretty neat. Of course if this had been one that was so violent it threw me to the ground I'd have a different opinion.
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:40 PM   #2
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Re: My first earthquake.

I was in the Northridge, California, earthquake and thrown from my hotel bed. I had to be evacuated from the hotel. Wait until the aftershocks start coming. They can be scarier than the original quake.

Be safe!
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Old 08-23-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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Re: My first earthquake.

Welcome to the club! I have been through several earthquakes including the one in Northridge in 1994. That wasn't fun, but by a stroke of luck I was staying at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills at the time. If you ever need to be somewhere during an earthquake, I highly recommend the Four Seasons! If it's not an earthquake, then it could be some other event that takes you completely by surprise. Look at it as a reminder to check your emergency preparedness kit.

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Old 08-23-2011, 05:27 PM   #4
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Re: My first earthquake.

I was in the desert near Palm Springs for a 7.5. If you are going to be near the center of a 7.5, I highly recommend being in the desert - nothing to fall on you!
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:41 PM   #5
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Re: My first earthquake.

I've been in a couple rumblers here in Idaho. Certainly makes you realize how incredibly tiny, powerless and insignificant we are.

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Old 08-23-2011, 07:01 PM   #6
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Re: My first earthquake.

I'm about 350 miles east of WVVan, and my first thought was, "Am I having some bizarre medical episode I've never heard of?" I stepped into the hall, and the roof sounded as though a 100-mile per hour wind was blowing through (but the windows were open and there was no wind). I've been in smaller, rattle-dishes-in-cupboard earthquakes, but this one was a shaker. I think I can now understand why stronger ones knock people off their feet.
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Old 08-23-2011, 10:16 PM   #7
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Re: My first earthquake.

Some are a quick jarring effect, some are rocking and rolling, some have been just seeing and feeling a swaying effect. The worst was it felt like somebody under the ground punching my feet. It made me sick to my stomach but the night before definately had something to do with that. Still it was wierd...very wierd.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:07 PM   #8
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Re: My first earthquake.

northern new jersey here.

office started a left and right motion. my chair was rolling slightly side to side but i initially thought to myself "damn the wind is strong today" and looked up. i had the front door of the office open and i looked right at the trees. which were still. not a leaf moving. then it hit me that even the wind shouldnt move my fat ass even in a chair with wheels LOL

the motion subsided for a few seconds then picked up again for about 10 seconds or so.

i said holy crap its an earthquake lol.

now a hurricane is on its way.
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:16 PM   #9
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Re: My first earthquake.

A 5.9 quake is always interesting even here in the SF Bay area. Typically, a 5.9 quake won't cause any damage. There are two factors...the strength and how long it goes on. The news said that your quake lasted 30 seconds. If true, that is a LONG quake! The national news also mentioned that quakes along the Pacific Rim are caused by a plate diving under another one and hence, the energy is absorbed more easily and they aren't felt as far from the epicenter. But on the east coast, it is one large plate and it is felt over a very large area. (I don't think many of us would even notice a 5.9 quake which was centered 200 miles away.)

We have been building and retrofitting structures for quakes since the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. We aren't as far along as Japan but I tend to not worry about quakes. But hurricanes and tornadoes are another matter...you guys even have a season for them! No way!
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Old 08-25-2011, 03:44 PM   #10
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Re: My first earthquake.

Worth noting here: the Richter scale is logarithmic so each unit increase is ten times the lower unit. So, the largest quake ever recorded (Chile, 1960, 9.5) was almost 1000 times stronger than last week's 5.9. They get big fast on this scale.
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