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Gazing into the Abyss: Michael Rawdon's Journal


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Tonight's quake was magnitude 5.5 and was centered near Gilroy. See where the quake was felt, and if you felt it, tell the US Geological Survey.
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My First Earthquake

I was putting the finishing touches on yesterday's entry a few minutes ago when I felt things starting to bounce. I had the thought that everyone seems to have when this happens: Must be a large truck going by. Except of course I couldn't hear a truck, and they don't usually make the floor bounce up-and-down.

I immediately realized that we must be having an earthquake! A light one - it was perceptible, but not very strong. I remembered my "training" (i.e., what the natives have told me) and got up and went into the frame of the door nearby. I looked and saw my halogen lamp swaying back and forth.

I've been listening to the Giants game this evening (they've just blown a save in the 9th inning), and as I was standing there the announcers said that things had suddenly gotten a little lively up there in San Francisco, and not just because of the game, but because they'd just had an earthquake!

After about 20 seconds everything had settled down, so I went and found the cats (who didn't seem to have noticed), and then came back to finish my entry.


This is my first earthquake in the Bay Area (or anywhere else!). There have been several others since I moved here, but I'd always been in the wrong part of the bay to feel them (I bet people in the east bay didn't feel this one; it was probably a San Andreas quake). So this was my first one.

Despite its mildness, it was still bracing. I wondered if this was just the prelude to something stronger (not so far; it's been about 15 minutes). I wondered if I should choose a different door frame to stand in. Is being on the second floor safer than being on the first (and thus being under the second floor)? I decided not.

I haven't taken dramatic measures to prepare for an earthquake. I have a bunch of water in the garage, and probably enough odds-and-ends around to take care of things in case the power goes out. I should probably remind myself how to turn off the gas main to my unit (even though only the hot water heater uses gas). I dunno. Maybe I'll see what else I can do.

A strange feeling, living in the land of quakes. I didn't move here back in 1994 (after grad school) partly because I didn't want to deal with quakes. There haven't been any significant ones since then, but they say there's a 70% chance of a major quake in the next 30 years. That could be in 2030, or it could be tomorrow.


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