Thursday, June 16, 2005

Another Friggen Earthquake!

A 5.3 Earthquake hit a few minutes ago. It looks like it was centered in the Riverside area. Here is a link to the US Geological survey info.

It's always great to be around newbies - I heard "it's the big one". Come on - 5.3 is like having somebody shake a table.


They downgraded the earthquake from a 5.3 to a 4.9 using a different scale.

I was thinking about the earthquake and my behavior this afternoon. I was alone in a conference room when the earthquake happened. After the initial movement, which felt like the a sudden movement of the ground forward about a foot and then a rapid spring like recovery back to the original position, I pushed my chair back from the table. I was planning to dive under the table if the next jolt qualified as an oh-my-god the world is ending type violent jolt (which you must experience yourself to understand). Instead, there was light shaking couple with a few small jolts. I played it cool…

I have been in a few bad earthquakes. It is fun to laugh at the small ones, but the big quakes are indescribably terrifying. The worst one I experience was not the strongest one I have ever been in, but is was the scariest. The 5.9 Whittier Narrows earthquake of 1987 is my personal benchmark. I was in a 100-year-old wood converted frame building known as the Nash Automobile building in El Segundo. When the earthquake shook, the ground moved violently, five adults tried to fit in one doorframe; the shaking was violent and continued for a long time. The lights went out, people started to scream, we smelt smoke… 20 minutes later, I made my way out of the building by following the walls with my hands while using a pen light. People were crying hysterically, some were calling for help. The building is massive; the size of a city block, some people remained missing in the building for up to an hour. A friend at the top of a 10-story earthquake safe building across the street was thrown 8 feet through the air as the building she was in rolled with the initial punch. The whole experience was humbling and scary. For a few brief moments, I thought I was going to die...