Home > Environment, Science & Technology > We’re OK… really! (Earthquake)

We’re OK… really! (Earthquake)

April 18, 2008

A friend emailed MrsDoF from Florida (land of mammoth hurricanes) to see if we were OK.  Central Illinois had an Earthquake a few hours ago – a 5.4.  That’s enough to rattle windows, wake a few people up but most buildings are up to the challenge.  The quake was felt as far away as Wisconsin and Ohio.  But I must have been snoozing because I didn’t know about it.  Lucas is down in Urbana, a little closer to the epicenter; maybe he’ll give us a report.

Our region has had one real smack-down of a quake, though, in 1812.  (Actually two big quakes followed by one staggeringly enormous one) Estimated at an 8.0 on the Richter scale, it cracked sidewalks in Washington, DC and rang church bells in Boston.  Around here it changed the course of the Mississippi and even toppled resilient buildings like log cabins.

I can’t remember exactly how the Richter scale works and right now instead of geeking out over it I have to rush off to work.  But the New Madrid quake of 1812 was several thousand times as powerful as today’s quake. If the same quake happened today…

Anyone notice the quake?  Or been through another quake?  Tell us about it!

Notes & Updates:

  1. Ted
    April 18, 2008 at 07:29 | #1

    Glad you’re OK.

    I’m in Chicago, and was woken up with the bed shaking. 7th floor in a heavy concrete building.

    First I thought:

    1. Hm, that’s strage, why is the bed moving?
    2. I don’t hear the wind howling outside.
    3. Actually, there’s some noise in the room next to me. Folks must be getting busy.
    4. Wait, I hear it from the room upstairs as well. But I’m lazy, so I wait for it to stop, and adjust pillows.
    5. Finally, it stops, and I think, “Hope it’s not crazy physicists over at Fermi doing silly things like opening a black hole.”
    6. Within 30 minutes the tv is providing i-witness reports. Phew; no black hole this time.

  2. April 18, 2008 at 07:37 | #2

    Think of it this way: a black hole now would stop the campaign season.  Collateral damage (the entire planet) would be well worth it.

  3. April 18, 2008 at 09:27 | #3

    Hooray for survival!  I’d be extremely annoyed if an earthquake dropped a building on you.  Me and plate tectonics – we’d no longer be on speaking terms, I could assure you.

    Most exciting earthquake I ever experienced was the little tremor that ran through the bathroom floor in Flagstaff, AZ once.  4.0, enormous news, people there freak out at the least little hint of a natural disaster.  I’m just glad it wasn’t one that would lead to my body being found in situ on a toilet.

    Most amusing was a recent tremor in Seattle – I was lying in bed, reading a book on physical geography, and just after I finished reading the section on Richter Magnitude Scale vs. the Mercalli intensity scale, the bed starts a shimmy.  I flipped back a page and went, “Hmm, intensity II.”

    How’s that for timing?  ;-)

  4. April 18, 2008 at 10:46 | #4

    Didn’t feel it either. But I just felt a tremor or two about 40 minutes ago on the 4th floor of the building I work at on campus. As soon as it happened, all of us upstairs there looked at each other.

    Than I said to the other two, when pictures start falling down I’m gone! They laughed and were thinkin the same thing. Never been in a quake before, or if I was I didn’t know it. Sorta cool, but scary to think of what a more powerful one could do.

  5. April 18, 2008 at 11:55 | #5

    Glad to hear you’re ok!

  6. April 18, 2008 at 18:27 | #6

    Update; Well I’ll be damned.  It cracked my basement wall.  Not severely and I don’t think it’s a structural problem but… how about that!  A quake that didn’t even wake me up.  The wall is bulged in about 0.5cm.

    It’s an old cinder-block wall and wasn’t in great shape to begin with, so while it can support a large load it can’t handle compression waves.  Gives me a preview of what will happen if a big quake ever occurs.

  7. Lucas
    April 18, 2008 at 20:36 | #7

    It woke me up from a sound sleep.  I woke up and wondered my upstairs neighbor was doing.  Several hours later, my radio alarm woke me up telling me there had been an earthquake.  “Oh,” I thought, “that makes a lot more sense.”  Of course I’m quite alright.

    For those of you who slept through it, don’t feel bad.  I talked with someone from Tokyo today (who thought it was a dream since “earthquakes don’t happen in Illinois”), and she said had a friend in college who slept through the massive earthquake in Kobe, Japan in 1995.  That one was a bit stronger than the one this morning.

  8. Cindy
    April 19, 2008 at 07:19 | #8

    Also glad you are all well.  After watching more of the news yesterday morning, I was reassured.  I also had to google maps of IL to find where Normal is in relation to the epicenter.  I love the internet – the world’s knowledge at your fingertips!

  9. April 19, 2008 at 08:32 | #9

    I am convinced God sent that earthquake to Illinois to warn you against saying anything nasty about the Pope, George.  That you foolishly ignored His warning only goes to show how far down you’ve sunk into the muck of science, reason and logic. Repent!

    Glad to hear you’re alright!  :)

  10. Maria
    April 19, 2008 at 08:40 | #10

    For us out here in California a 4.0 hardly rates conversation.  Still the shaking of the earth is always unsettling.  We have many small earthquakes here on the desert.  Watching my parrots right after a small quake is amusing.  They cock their heads to get a monocular view of the ground and peer down in a bewildered manner for at least 20 seconds. 

    At least there is some warning in a hurricane or tornado.  I know the technology is probably right around the corner, but I sure would like a warning siren.

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