Wednesday, August 24, 2011


So there was an earthquake on the east coast of the USA yesterday. My sister lives in Virginia and said it was pretty scary for her and her little ones--things fell off shelves and they had just all gathered under the dining room table when the shaking stopped. Friends of mine in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire said they felt it too. A 5.9 is a pretty good size. I remember an earthquake in Seattle 9 or 10 years ago that was about that size, and I felt it where I was in college in Ellensburg  (110 miles away). It made the lights swing and they closed several buildings on campus for several hours while they inspected them for structural damage. I remember that being unnerving.
Prior to that I remember one other earthquake. I was 13 or 14 and I was babysitting and the whole house started swaying. It scared me for a minute until I realized that it was just an earthquake... I don't remember how big it was, but there was no damage. I called my dad and he made the excellent point that aftershocks tend to be smaller than the initial quake, and I calmed down and was ok.

When we moved to Homer two years ago I learned what it means to be totally unphased by earthquakes. We had been there just a few weeks when one afternoon things started to shake. At first I thought it was our dryer, because it could get a pretty good vibration going on through the house...but the dryer wasn't running. By the time I realized it was an earthquake it was over. I hurried to the other room where my then 2-years-old Bear was playing serenely. I asked if he was ok. He said yes. I asked if he felt the shaking. He looked at me like I was asking about quantum physics. Alrighty then!
Over the next few months I learned that we would get earthquakes several times a week--sometimes several times a day--and that every 6-8 weeks one would be a 3 or 4 or 5 and I would feel it. I learned how to guess at how big they were (and I got fairly good too--I'd put my guess on my facebook, and then ten minutes later go look it up, and I was usually within 0.2 or so!) I also learned that familiarity breeds contempt, or, at least, apathy, because not one of my kids has ever seemed the least bit phased by all these earthquakes. And, I confess, at this point, neither am I. If nothing even falls off a shelf, well, I just hop on facebook and make my prediction...
Of course, here in Kotzebue we are off the ring of fire (for the first time in my life I live in a non-earthquake zone!), so perhaps I'll re-sensitize to them. Who knows. Here I think we are probably more likely to see a polar bear in downtown than to feel an earthquake. (I'll be sure to let you know if that happens.)

But back to the Virginia quake, KSL News (in Utah) made sure to let us all know that four spires broke off the top of the Mormon temple.
AND, in case you haven't heard yet, there are some conflicting opinions about the causes of the shaking...
It has been determined that the epicenter of the Va earthquake was in a graveyard just outside of DC. The cause appears to be all of our Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

The President has just confirmed that the DC earthquake yesterday occurred on a rare and obscure fault-line, apparently known as "Bush's Fault."

Michelle Bachmann has promised to keep future quakes at 2.9.

The president wanted it to be a 3.6, but the Republicans said it needed to be a 6.0, so they compromised.
It wasn't an earthquake. It was a 14.6 Trillion dollar check bouncing. any more for me?

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