Monday, April 6, 2015

E is for Earthquake


My theme for my 2015 A to Z Challenge came from my Disaster Crimes series. Disasters are a theme in each story, so it got me thinking about all the disasters that occur from natural disasters to manmade disasters.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Many of you may know I finished writing the sequel to Hurricane Crimes, but I haven't revealed what disaster my characters face in book two. Until now...

Today’s disaster is...
EARTHQUAKE

An EARTHQUAKE occurs when tectonic plates move. These plates separate, slide past each other, or collide into each other. This movement happens because the crust, which is made up of the oceans and continents, is floating on top of an elastic layer, like crackers on top of a bowl of tomato soup. The quake is the vibration of rocks.

FACT: There is absolutely no way to know when an earthquake will strike, and no place is completely earthquake free.

Earthquakes may only last about 40-45 seconds, but their impact can be deadly. Furniture can move or overturn, pictures and mirrors on the wall can fall, windows can break, buildings and chimneys can collapse, and power lines can fall down.

Image from Pixabay

FACT: Atlantis is believed to have been swallowed by earthquakes that originated in the Mediterranean, creating tsunamis.

Primary waves (push and pull) arrive first during an earthquake because they travel faster than slower secondary waves (side to side). A near quake can have a combination of both push/pull and side to side motions because the waves don’t have a chance to separate over distance. Following the initial quake, aftershocks are extremely common as the plates settle. Aftershocks can last for months after a quake, getting less powerful over time.

FACT: 700 quakes rock the United States a year.

Earthquake Dangers:
Bridges and buildings collapse
Falling debris
Tsunamis
Floods
Mud/rock slides
Fires
Gas leaks
Sink holes
Dams break
Looting

If you ever experience an earthquake, stand in a doorway and cover your head with your arms. Doorways are sturdy and can protect you from injury.

After a quake, check for damage to your home, and seek shelter if necessary. Even if a building is left standing after a quake, a weak structure can collapse during aftershocks. Never light a gas stove or drink water from a pipe until you know it’s safe.

FACT: There is a 25% chance of an earthquake measuring 7.0 or higher on the Richter scale in the next 20 years on the San Andreas Fault.


Image from Pixabay

QUESTIONS: Have you experienced an earthquake? If so, what was the magnitude, and what was it like?

How many people here live in California?


FINAL MESSAGE: Since so many commenters mention hurricanes (cyclones) as something they have experienced, might I suggest reading my short story Hurricane Crimes? It's about 50 pages long and is packed with a lot of action. Plus, you'll understand the characters a little more if you're interested in reading the earthquake-inspired sequel, which I plan to send to my publisher for consideration very soon. :)

Hurricane Crimes:


Disasters:
I'm a member of Tremp's Troops

118 comments:

  1. We only have tiny earthquakes in the UK, not usually perceptible, although apparently we get a lot of them.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. Tiny ones are a lot more tolerable than the big ones.

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  2. As Sophie said above that here in the UK we just get tiny earthquakes, It must be horriffic to be caught up in a major one..
    Wonderful post and pictures that makes me feel how lucky we are here.
    Well done Chrys,

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    1. That's good! I hope the UK doesn't get stronger ones.

      Thanks, Yvonne!

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  3. Earthquake--that's a frightening one--no where to escape.

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  4. I live in New Zealand, we are also on the Pacific Ring of Fire. I also lived in California for 18 years.

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    1. Wow! So you've dealt with a lot of earthquake, huh?

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  5. Experienced my first earthquake a couple of years ago during work. At first I thought it was the rumbling of a huge truck �� passing by. But then the floor started to shake. Then my cubicle and the whole building. I was all WTH �� it didn't struck me that what just happened was an earthquake. They had us evacuate the building and eventually sent us home.

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    1. That would be a shocking experience for sure, especially if you're not used to them.

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  6. 700 a year is a lot, although hopefully lots are those tiny rumbles mentioned above. Didn't know that about doorways.

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    1. Hopefully they are. I believe they are since that number is so huge.

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  7. I hope I never have to put the doorway shelter to the test!

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    1. I hope you don't have to either, but it's something good to know.

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  8. I've only been in small earthquakes, but when I was living in Virginia City, NV back in the late 80s, there was a string of small quakes and I remember waking up and hearing the ground roar from deep below as the walls shook, it was eerie and made it hard for me to go back to sleep. Another book recommendation: Simon Winchester, "A Crack at the Edge of the World: America and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906."

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    1. Thanks for the book recommendation, Sage! :)

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  9. The DC earthquake a couple years ago was felt here, but I completely missed it. I know, how do you miss it? I was moving around in our garage at the time and just didn't feel it.

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    1. How lucky! My characters in the sequel aren't so lucky.

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  10. Never experienced any form of natural disaster my whole life, hut from what I've seen on TV, not funny at all. Interesting post, keep them coming

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    1. That's good! I hope no natural disasters strike anywhere near you.

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  11. This is the one that scared me most as a kid--my mom read me a book that started with characters falling through an earthquake to a different world and I because sure the earth was just ready to swallow us up. Having been through a few now, I am less afraid than I am of tornados, but it took a while.

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    1. What a story! I'd be afraid of falling into the earth too.

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  12. I've never been involved in an earthquake, but a friend overseas, died in one. It was a sad day.

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Dixie!

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  13. Interesting disaster for your book two :) Lived in California the majority of my life (but now Arizona). I remember vividly the first earthquake I experienced when we were there about 6 months and I was 7 years old. We were in the San Diego area for most of the time we lived there and they didn't get the more intense ones like Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. But you are right, you never know when they are going to "strike".

    betty

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    1. Thanks, Betty! That's what makes an earthquake so devastating and surprising...the unpredictability.

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  14. So the most we usually get in Delaware is flooding. A few years back, I was temping at a college and was on break. I felt a slight rumble, saw that the TV was shaking, and then heard a kid screaming on the bottom floor, "DID ANYONE ELSE FEEL THAT?!"

    We proceeded to evacuate and learned we had had a minor earthquake. It was quite an ordeal.

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    1. A minor quake, when you're not used to them, can sure rattle the nerves.

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  15. Thankfully all we ever had was a slight one in my lifetime here and I didn't even know we had it until later.

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  16. I was in a very small earthquake back in 2004 when I was in Japan. That's my only experience of them to date. They are very scary when they're the bigger ones - esp. those that cause tsunamis!

    BTW, I am reading HURRICANE CRIMES right now :)

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    1. Earthquakes in Japan can be horrible. I'm glad you're okay after that.

      I was on Goodreads yesterday and I actually saw that you're reading Hurricane Crimes.Thank you! I hope you're enjoying it. :)

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  17. Earthquakes are amazingly powerful! I've never been in one, but Missouri (yes, that's right!) has a fault line not too far from where I live. (It might be in southern Illinois, but still, that's a bit close for me.)

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    1. I didn't know Missouri had a fault line, but I guess they can be anywhere.

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  18. I've been through several small quakes, including a couple in Japan.

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    1. Really? Wow! You really are a ninja. ;)

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  19. I think I've lived a pretty sheltered and safe life so far. Though I have never been through an earthquake, I seem to be the only person who remembers the vintage McDonald's commercials for Shamrock Shakes, where Grimace keeps talking about them and when he mentions the word shake, the world is shaken violently, much like an earthquake. That's the closes I've ever come to an earthquake.

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    1. LOL! "That's the closest I've ever come to an earthquake." That made m e laugh. I don't remember that commercial.

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  20. Earthquakes are scary. I've never experienced one but after doing some research on earthquakes for my book I learned there's a huge fault line in the US Midwest. Yeah, I thought nothing could possibly happen where I live. =)

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    1. A silent fault line could be anywhere.

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  21. We had a small quake a number of years ago and our dogs went wild seconds before we felt it. One small since then. They are scary.

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    1. Animals can sense these things. That's why it's important to pay attention to them when they start to act strangely.

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  22. I use to live in California and experienced some minor quakes there. The scariest were when visiting Japan. I'm wondering about your A to Z theme. I know about your book "Hurricane Crimes" which I intend to read. I'm wondering if you have more disaster themed books in the works or if after writing and researching for that book you just became fascinated?

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    1. You're the third person so far so say they've experience earthquakes while in Japan. I didn't know so many of you have been to Japan! I was almost born there, but I don't think that counts. lol

      I do have more in the works. :) It's going to be called the Disaster Crimes series. I'm writing the third book now and have two more planned. :)

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  23. Since I live in the Northeast, I've only felt tremors from further away earthquakes every so often. It's very weird when that happens. I'm told I slept through one such tremor, worse than usual, my senior year of university.

    In my writing, I've featured the 1988 earthquake which hit Yerevan, Armenia. That was a devastating earthquake.

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  24. Earthquakes are extremely rare where I live. They're not impossible, but if they happen they're so weak people don't even realize it is an earthquake. You hear about it later on the news and say, "oh, THAT'S what that was!"

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    1. LOL! I don't know what would happen if a weak earthquake hit Florida.

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  25. Earthquakes are ridiculous scary - where does one go?

    One of my nightmares, as a child, involved the earth opening up and swallowing me and my friends. Lovely, eh? What was I eating at night to cause that?

    I had come friends in Japan that nearly died in a big earthquake over there.

    If you want to produce fright, an earthquake is a good way to go.

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    1. No where really. Other than in a doorway or under a table. Going outside is dangerous. But being inside with falling objects is also dangerous.

      I'm sorry for your loss, Cherdo!

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  26. As a child, I was desperately afraid of earthquakes for some reason. Funny, as I lived in PA. However, I was certain that that was going to be the way I was going to go.

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  27. Great tips, Chrys. Where I live now, in Vancouver, B.C. earthquake is the #1 risk. So, good to know about the doorway! I grew up here and there was a fairly big earthquake in the 70's. I don't remember that much about it. Tsunami is what really scares me. By the end of your A-Z challenge I'll be having nightmares ;) I definitely want to read Hurricane Crimes. I have to buy a few e-books on my ipad, so I'll be doing that this week.

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    1. Tsunami really scares me too because I can't swim, and all thsoe movies with huge waves wiping out the population freak me out!

      Thank you, Lisa!!!! :D

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  28. Since I live on the San Andreas fault, Earthquakes and I are on intimate terms. I never have any time to duck and cover, but the aftershocks I can hear--yes hear--coming. They sound like a wave sweeping through the forest. Very scary because then I have time to get ready for the jolt.

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    1. You can hear them coming? That's an interesting tidbit!

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  29. I can't imagine what it must be to live in a place like California, where a major earthquake can hit at any time. I know it can happen anywhere--but they seem to have them happen more often. That has to be a very scary feeling. (But it makes for great fiction!)

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    1. It sure does make for great fiction. ;) I had a lot of fun writing about the quake and the aftermath.

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  30. My brother was in San Diego while in the navy, but he only felt a little shaking from ones that were far away. As far as I can remember, there were no big ones while he was there.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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  31. I experience a very tiny one once out in CA, but never in FL, and hope I never do! So cool you live in FL. We're almost neighbors! I'm lovin' this theme Chrys! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I hope I never feel one in Florida either. LOL!

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  32. Apparently, there was an earthquake while I was living at home with my parents. I was taking a bubble bath and didn't even notice it.

    I'm guessing it wasn't very strong. :)

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    1. LOL! That's a nice way to ride out an earthquake. :P

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  33. I've experienced two earthquakes, but they were both quite small. The first was in S.C. and sounded like a truck backfiring, but louder, a big crack. It was a 2.0 or so earthquake. That was twenty years ago. A couple of years ago, a structural beam in my house starting ticking very loudly for a few seconds. It freaked me out and then my husband called and said he was in a third story building that had started to sway. The earthquake originated somewhere in Canada and we were feeling it in Rochester, NY.

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    1. A structural beam was cracking? That would scream me to pieces! I'd scream and run out of the house. lol

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  34. I lived in California for 8 years and only experienced one (thank God!). The whole house leaned (yes, leaned) from side to side and by the time I realized what was going on, it was over. I screamed and called everybody from back home (Louisiana). They all said I was crazy for living in California, lol.

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    1. LOL! Of course they'd think you're crazy. ;P

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  35. One of the reasons I don't plan on moving to California... :D We have some earthquakes in Hungary too, but very rarely, and the really only make the chandeliers shiver...

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

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    1. I'd like to take a trip there, but would pray a earthquake doesn't strike while I'm there. lol

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  36. I was scared to death of earthquakes as a kid, though I lived my entire life on the east coast and we never had one. I had this incredible fear that I would be standing on the exact spot where the earth splits and I'd fall through to the core.

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    1. That's a common fear, it seems. You're about the 3rd or 4th person to mention the same fear as a child. I had it too.

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  37. As mentioned in D, two of the boys are off to California to study, so will be giving them some info on earthquakes before they go! x

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  38. *raises hand* California girl here.

    Have I experienced an earthquake? How much time you got? I lost count sometime in my teens, when we were going through the Whittier aftershocks. Good times.

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    1. AWESOME!

      LOL! I've got some time. ;) Wow! Seems like you've had your fill of earthquakes.

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  39. I grew up in California and even so, I've only been in 2 small earthquakes. One in Ca and one here in Las Vegas. Both were really small and the one in CA was so small that all it did was make the hanging light above our kitchen table swing back and forth a little. But the one a few years ago here in Las Vegas woke us up from sleep. My bed started shaking back and forth and I thought hubby had his foot on the wall and was making the bed shake. But when I saw it wasn't him my first thought wasn't earthquake..nooo it was ghost. I thought we were being messed with by a ghost. LOL Hubby still laughs about that.

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    1. Being woken up by a earthquake would be scary. I probably wouldn't be able to fall back to sleep after that.

      Messed with by a ghost. Tee-hee. I like that!

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  40. Hi Chrys - Earthquakes must be frightening ... and I've had mine movement shakes in South Africa .. rumblings from down under .. they're disconcerting enough. The thought of a major earthquake horrifies me .. but any major disaster can cause so much horrible damage ..

    Mary's ghost story is great .. such a wonderful story to be able to tell! Cheers Hilary

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  41. I've lived in So. Cal., my whole life. Earthquakes never really bothered me until the 6.7 one in '94. Now I have an entirely new respect of them.

    Scribbles From Jenn - Visiting from the A to Z Challenge

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    1. 6.7 is not a gentle earthquake. Far from it.

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  42. I've never been in an earthquake but to me they're scary. They happen so suddenly and you have little chance of getting away from them. Great post.

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    1. I agree. That's why I thought an earthquake would be the perfect disaster to follow Hurricane Crimes. Thanks, Beverly!

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  43. disaster central here! i thought you might to quakes for q - now i'm definitely curious to see what other crazy catastrophes you tell us about! cool!
    happy e day!

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    1. I've got another disaster entirely for Q. It's one many probably don't know about. ;)

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  44. Earthquake is another fearful calamity happens every now and then in different places, few years back this happened in our country too, that was indeed a great disaster and many perished with it, Thanks for sharing these information with the E post. I mean with the letter E LOL
    Thanks for dropping by
    Keep sharing
    Waiting for the rest :-)
    ~ Philip

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    1. I'm so sorry to hear how a quake devastated your area, Philip.

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  45. I've been through a three earthquakes that I know of, but I slept through one and then didn't feel the other. The third felt like a heavy truck passed by outside. So I haven't seen any destruction from quakes, and for that I'm glad.

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    1. That's good! A quake can create a lot of destruction.

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  46. I think 2! One was like 18 yrs ago and it was so NOTHING...but I felt a little shudder if you will lol...and my stuffed animal fell over on my bed. Then 3 summers ago my mom and I were on the deck in chairs and it felt like the deck was rolling beneath us...strangest sensation I've ever felt...I thought maybe there was an animal under the deck but then it went on too long and I was like yeah I think this is an earthquake...sure enough there was one in VA and we were just getting the ripples from it here on Long Island lol

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    1. That would be an odd sensation to feel. I think Id panic if I felt it. lol

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  47. so much damage and lives lost during earthquake. I have spent my childhood in earthquake prone zone... but they were always mild... not destructive. Thank you for visiting my blog :)

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    1. You're very welcome, Rajlakshmi! Thanks for returning the visit. :)

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  48. I actually felt that Washington earthquake in 2000, but I was about 100 miles from the epicenter. In Bellingham, we had some falling items off shelves in stores (wine gets expensive!) and some brick facades falling, but it wasn't too bad. I was on the second story of a building and it felt surprisingly like the whole room did a little circle as well as a wave. Hard to explain, but it wasn't the shuddering I had always pictured, more of a rolling feeling. It was over before any of us really knew what was going on. We all thought "is this the big one?" but by the time it was over, we knew it wasn't.

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    1. No, not the wine!!!! :P

      It those P waves and S waves that cause that spinning, waving feeling. I've never felt it, but I tried my best to describe it in my book.

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  49. Well done, Chrys! And great tips to go along with the facts. The San Andreas sure got everyone's attention back in 1906, huh? But now I think we can't be reminded enough how possible the next "big one" is.

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    1. The next big one could happen at any time.

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  50. I absolutely love the crackers on tomato soup analogy! I have never been in a serious earthquake (just minor tremors). We are now starting to get frostquakes here, which are just plain bizarre.

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    1. Frostquakes? Now that sounds fascinating!

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  51. I've experienced one minor earthquake tremor and one large one here in Vancouver, British Columbia. We are in the vicinity of the San Andreas fault, too. We've had earthquake drills and many buildings and bridges are earthquake resistant. The building I was in last time on the 15th flr, just rolled with the shaking. It was very scary.

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    1. I can imagine. If I ever felt that, I'd want to hold onto something, but there's nothing you can really hold onto because it's all moving.

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  52. I grew up in California, and was in a couple of small earthquakes, but nothing major. I remember being in bed and the bed swayed from side to side and I was like, "what the...?". I had family in the big Northridge earthquake (everyone is/was fine), and I remember watching how the Oakland bay bridge collapsed in '89.

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    1. I'm glad your family is fine after that quake, Sara!

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  53. I lived in Cali for ten years. (Born in San Diego) ergo... This one I can handle!

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  54. I know we've had the odd earthquake, but ours are only tiny and I can't say I've ever noticed. The UK isn't exactly earthquake central ;)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. That's a very good thing, Natasha! :)

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  55. Great tip about standing in a doorway.I hope to never experience an earthquake, and feel badly for those who have suffered irreplaceable damage.

    Julie

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  56. I got to witness one earthquake incident in 2001 in India. Even though the center point was at the western tip of India called Gujarat, we experienced slight tremors in Mumbai (the neighboring state). The aftermath was appalling :(

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    1. The aftermath of an earthquake is always terrible.

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  57. I experienced a minor earthquake in Taiwan once, in the middle of the night. Being Singaporean, I knew very very little about earthquakes and what I ought to do during one so I was a little shaken back then. Singapore is relatively safe from most natural disasters though we do have some rockiness beneath our feet (like we could feel the building sway) when a neighbouring country is experiencing an earthquake.

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    1. I would be shaken too. Even after all of my research and writing a story with an earthquake in it, I'd still probably panic.

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  58. I have experienced 3 but all were small-about 5.1 and we were not near the epicenter. The last one was about 3 years ago. I remember looking at the brick wall at my work and it looked like it rolled-very strange. You have no control over it

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    1. Seeing a brick wall roll would be very strange indeed.

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  59. We did (amazingly enough) have an earthquake here in PA a few years back (2011, to be precise) which disproved my belief that the eastern corridor was immune to that particular disaster. It was absolutely NOTHING like the 'real' quakes they get in CA, though- most people didn't know it had happened until the news reports started coming out.

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    1. I remember that! I lot of states on the east coast felt it, but it didn't reach Florida.

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