Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today I experienced a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. As one colleague said, "that was quite un-Jeresy like." It struck at 1:51 PM while I was sitting in my office. Here on the east coast, when the building shakes, you don't think earthquake.

So my first thought was a truck hit the building. But the shaking kept going and going. Then I thought that one of the big air-conditioning units on top of the building had broke free, and like an unbalanced clothes dryer was shaking the building. and then we thought explosion. But when calls started coming in about how the shaking had been felt around the area, well I knew then it had to be a quake.

For three years at the turn of the century I worked in Torrance, California, just south of LA. I lived in New Jersey, same place as I do now. Yeah, it was a hell of a commute. And when it was all over I had 890,000 frequent flyer miles. Now while in California I experienced several earthquakes, including two at 4.7 and one at 5.1. And this wasn't my first in New Jersey, as I had lived through a 2.1 some years ago. So this earthquake thing was old hat to me.

But his was the strongest quake I'd ever felt, 5.8 on the Richter Scale.

Thus it was with some trepidation that I headed home after work, wondering what carnage might await.

I took awhile for me to spot it, but there, on top of a bookshelf, one of my trees had fallen over.

Earthquake Aftermath

No not the books, they're always like that, randomly stacked. No, the tree on the right.

Here's a closeup:

This is the most damage I'm ever experienced in a quake. And it is quite enough for me thank you very much. I was lucky that the epicenter was in Virginia, some thirty miles or so outside of Richmond. This was the strongest earthquake to hit that area, beating the 4.8 magnitude quake of 1875. Given the century plus interval between quakes I don't think I've much to worry about.

It was an exciting twenty or so seconds today, when the building shook. It got just a little bit scary towards the end. And we were all rather surprised to learn how far away the epicenter was. Seems the shockwaves travel farther on the east coast of the US then those out west. In the end it was something interesting to talk about. I'm glad I got to experience it, but I don't think I'd want to experience anything much stronger.

Now, about that hurricane heading up the coast ...

1 comment:

Chesney said...

I am so glad that was the extent of your damage..and glad everyone is ok!