I wrote this post last week. Since then there have been earthquakes in LA, Chile, Peru, Japan and Northern California. Why is the world trying to copy me? Oh well, here you go.
There have been three 3.0-ish earthquakes in the past month within 20 miles of my house and I felt them all. I always think I feel quakes but no one else ever does, so I blow it off. Yeah, I'm that weirdo that goes, "Shhh! Stop! Did you feel that?!" and everyone looks at me like I'm an idiot. But a few hours later I always see a Facebook post or tweet from the news that says we did in fact have a small tremor. I'm seriously in tune with the earth! One night last summer I was lying on the couch watching TV and the wall behind me moved. It felt and sounded like a car crashed into the side of our house. That's impossible because we live in the woods, but I made Jacob go outside with a flashlight to investigate. It had been raining for a few days so he concluded that the house was settling. I wasn't happy with his answer and went to my favorite website (US Geological Survey) to find that there actually had been a 3.6 earthquake! I love this stuff. It freaks me out and excites me at the same time. Small earthquakes are really common here. I feel like people forget that Washington is a part of the Ring of Fire.
- - - - -
California gets all the attention because their earthquakes are bigger and have been more devastating. But we get them too - up to 1,000 a year. The last giant earthquake in this area was 300 years ago, so the energy is building and next big quake could be huge. Like, 9.0 huge. It's supposed to last for two minutes and since it'll be off the coast, the ocean will drop and create a tsunami that will affect most of the west coast. Parts of the state will rise while coastal areas will sink below sea level. We've been waiting for "the big one" since I was in elementary school. We had a 6.8 quake in 2001, but some don't think that was big enough. Because we're near a subduction zone, our big earthquake will be a lot like the one in Japan in 2011.
Also, we have volcanoes! Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980 after a two month period of small quakes. Did you guys learn about this constantly in school or was that just a Washington state history thing? 57 people died and 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles of railway, and 185 miles of highway were wiped out.
In 2004, Mount St. Helens started erupting again and the plumes of steam and ash didn't stop until 2008, but has been quiet since then. I remember hearing something about it on the news every day from the scientists camped out and flying overhead.
Jacob and I visited the mountain in the summer of 2008, after it got the all clear. It was cool, but I was totally creeped out being up there. Nolan is such a little science kid and is obsessed with volcanoes. He wants to go so bad, but I have to admit, I'm nervous!
The visibility was bad because the wind was kicking up ash and dust
Mount Rainier is a massive active volcano, twice the size of St. Helens, way closer to Seattle, and is on the Decade Volcano list. That means it's one of the sixteen volcanoes in the world with the greatest likelihood of causing great loss of life and property if eruptive activity resumes (and it's the only one on that list in the United States). Scary!
So yeah, we have earthquakes and I feel them all the time. It's creepy. And there's nothing you can really do to prepare for one except to have supplies and a plan. I feel grateful that we don't get tornadoes or hurricanes here. Those would really freak me out.
Ok, there's your science for the day. I know, I know, I'm a nerd.
Do you get earthquakes where you live? Do you have any stories? I love to hear them!