Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shake, Rattle & Roll

Well, I was going to write a post on NaNo prep and all that, but I got distracted. By an earthquake.

Not today, but last night, there was an earthquake which is the biggest one the San Jose bay area has seen since our major 1989 quake. This particular one was a 5.6 magnitude, centered somewhere in Alum Rock.

Anyway, no injuries here, and the thing that made me write about this instead of NaNo (which I am sure you will get sick of by this time next month anyway) is that when the quake hit, I was in a building with lots of other people of varying ages. The quake was big enough in our area to be quite obviously an earthquake.

And how did we react? It was something along the lines of, “oh, hey, this is an earthquake, isn’t it?” There was some discussion among the younger kids as to whether it really was an earthquake, or whether it might instead have been the teens outside playing a practical joke by banging on the metal roll-up door. (Uh, no. Sorry kids. Earthquake.)

It’s like during the big 1989 quake. (That one was a 6.9 / 7.1 quake. And the “6″ part isn’t bigger than the “5″ part of the recent one by a small amount, but by a large amount. If you want more details on earthquake magnitudes, check here or here. They should be able to give you more science-type data. Remind me to find and scan and post a funny comic about earthquake magnitudes.)

Anyway. The 1989 quake. We still were like, “oh, hey, this is an earthquake. It’s still going on. I guess we should go get in a doorway, or something, huh?” And this was during an earthquake strong enough to knock down a section of the Bay Bridge, to collapse a double-decker freeway, and to send the water in our swimming pool sloshing all the way up to the middle of our kitchen window - which itself was already half a floor above ground level. And yet, “oh hey, it’s an earthquake.”

Californians are a weird breed.


Update: we just (3:54) had a magnitude 3.7 aftershock. And did I duck and cover like a good Girl Scout? No. I sat at my desk looking around and thinking, "Huh, nothing seems to be in danger. But the plastic decorative weird stuff they have on the wall sure makes some neat squeaking sound. I wonder how big this one is?" I maintain: Californians are weird.