Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My First Real Earthquake

Monday night we were in Oklahoma City, the final night on our trip to Rhode Island for a family funeral. At some point during the evening, maybe a little after 9 PM, we felt the house shake and the rumbling of an earthquake, along with the sound of it.

This was my first real earthquake to be in. I say "real" because I've been through two previously. Both were small. I don't remember where they were on the Richter Scale, but certainly less than 3.0 and maybe less than 2.0. The first of those happened a couple of years ago while I was driving in or near Bentonville, Arkansas, and I never felt it.

The second happened perhaps a year ago. I was at home in Bella Vista, Arkansas, on a Saturday, I think, when hear a loud, sharp SNAP like sound. It could almost have passed for an odd thunderclap, except the skies were clear that day. I thought it might be an earthquake, went to the computer, and soon found it was. There was no movement with that—only the sound.

So Monday evening when the house began moving and we heard the rumbles, we had to think for a moment about what was happening. Five or so seconds later and it was all over. Or at least I did. Our son-in-law said they had a much larger one Saturday evening, clearly moving the earth, lasting for about 30 seconds. Plus there were after shocks between that big-ish one and the one we felt. So had was more ready than we were. These all took place around Prague, Oklahoma, a small town between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Last night, just after midnight, there was another earthquake in about the same spot. 3.0 on the Richter scale, they say. I guess I should have felt it, but was either asleep or rolling about trying to sleep. And, looking at the USGS site for earthquakes, I see there was one we slept through early Tuesday morning, a 4.7 intensity one, and even one we drove through at 7:05 PM Tuesday evening, a 3.6 intensity one. When I say "drove through", we were already 60 miles past the epicenter, and didn't feel a thing in the car.

So, one more thing to check off the bucket list: "Live through an earthquake". Not that it was really on my bucket list. And not that I really have a bucket list. I was scheduled to be in San Francisco at a conference way back in 1989 when the earthquake hit SanFran, but had cancelled the trip. I notice the USGS website with the best map scale doesn't show a couple of these yet. Once they do, I'll update this blog post with a link.

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