Tuesday, August 23, 2011


After the event this afternoon, my husband remarked with incredible irony that he had thought of the possibility of experiencing an earthquake, but assumed that we'd be in California, if that happened.

With our son and daughter-in-law now living in southern California, we know we will be visiting there more frequently. So that raised the possibility of experiencing an earthquake--not a huge likelihood, true. But we certainly didn't think we'd feel the earth moving here in central Pennsylvania.

Yet, that is precisely what we felt today. Just before 2 p.m. EST, we each felt something a bit unusual--my husband thought the dog had bumped his office chair. I saw the walls seem to move slightly--a disorienting sensation.

I confess, the first place I turned to figure out what had happened was Facebook. It lit up like a switchboard (what a funny comparison). And immediately the USGS confirmed that it was indeed a 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Mineral, Virginia, some 90 miles south of Washington, DC.

Here's a USGS map of the places where the earthquake was felt--based on reports people have made.
I can't say that experiencing an earthquake was on any personal experience list that I had--but if this is the only earthquake I experience, I am just fine with that. I recall hearing from an aunt of mine who lived through the great Alaska earthquake of 1964. That event seemed like the end of the world to her.

I am fine with a 5.8 magnitude earthquake almost 200 miles from where I live. I would NOT want to experience a 9.2 magnitude earthquake.


Beverly said...

I talked to my daughter, Sarah, after the fact. She's in Charlottesville. She said their office building shook. She texted me at 2:00 and then called me later. She sounded "shook up."

Beverly said...

PS, I like your new look.

Nance said...

We lived in Alaska in the last half of the eighties and loved it--which surprised this Southern girl, but there's just something about that alpine light. We'd be there today, but for the earthquakes. Our house was on a granite outcrop over the Eagle River, a 45 degree drop down from our kitchen river. At 30 below zero, a 2 a.m. quake would send me tumbling down the stairs with kids, quilts, and small dog under my arms, heart pounding, to stand in the open front door trying to decide whether to go down the cliff with the house or freeze to death within minutes of stepping outside.

Every year, on the anniversary of the Great Quake, the state newspaper published full-page archival pictures. Like I needed to be reminded more than once.

I'm sorry for the fear the East Coast quake caused. We happen to be in San Diego this week, where I'm used to feeling temblors; how ironic that all was calm here while my East Coast home shook.

Give me a hurricane that I can see coming. Quakes and tornadoes are my recurrent nightmares.

Anvilcloud said...

Yes, getting up to 9 or so would be scary since each number is 10x more powerful that the previous -- or so my recollection tells me. Very scary.

Ginnie said...

I felt it here in North Carolina. It felt like the house rocked but it was over almost as soon as I noticed it.

NCmountainwoman said...

We felt the tremor here in western North Carolina. When we built our house my husband asked our agent if many people in the area get earthquake insurance. The agent told him there were not many...mostly the geology professors at Clemson University. We are actually not far from a fault so yes, we bought the extra coverage and we do hope we never need it.

Climenheise said...

Glad it wasn't bigger!