3.18.2014

Earthquakes

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.

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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.

Idiots

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!

8 comments:

Misty, Handbags + Handguns said...

Memphis is on a huge fault line, New Madrid. We aren't prepared because we've never experienced a big one to scare us into reality. I've only felt one and that was when I was in the fourth grade. I was sitting at my desk doing homework when my chair moved. I thought my mom had come up behind me. I turned around and... nothing. When I saw the news, I knew I wasn't crazy.

For many years, experts said we're long overdue for an earthquake here. They said the New Madrid fault line could bring about a 7.7 earthquake destroying structures and killing thousands of people, with Tennessee being in the most danger. In recent years, they've backed off this theory quite a bit.

I'm not so sure what to think. We're still sitting on a huge fault line. It's just not active. One of these days though... Dun. Dun. Dun.

Jen K said...

This is so interesting to me! And creepy. I have not experienced many earthquakes. I'm going to do some research!

SMD @ lifeaccordingtosteph said...

I'm so interested in this, and also wary and sort of afraid. No one is the boss of mother nature.

ErinMSW said...

Wow, that is kind of scary! Really interesting, but kind of scary. I have only felt 2 earthquakes in my life. Once when I was really little - it woke me from my sleep, and I went out to the living room to tell my parents, and they didn't believe me. The next day, sure enough, the news reported a small earthquake! And then Philly had a small one a year or so ago. We were in our office for a meeting, and the whole townhouse started swaying!

Karen M. Peterson said...

I had no idea Washington was waiting for The Big One too. We learned all about ours in school and had earthquake drills every year and all that. But it never occurred to me that other places had to do that too!

Leeann @ Join the Gossip said...

I didn't even realize you guys had earthquakes until I visited you! But I'm like you - I always feel them. And a lot of times I just imagine I feel them lol. But they don't scare me. That's probably not normal. About five years ago we had a decent sized one that lasted for quite some time. Almost everyone in my office was from other parts of the country (bc like nobody in LA is usually from CA lol) and they were all freaking out jumping under their desks and I was just cracking up!

Volcanoes though, hell nah! I'd be too scared to get close to one lol!

Kori said...

So scary!!!! I hate living in So Cal for this exact reason...I always feel like we're going to fall in the ocean. Hope you're well honey!!!! Kori xoxo

Elle Sees said...

we've felt earthquakes in atlanta, but i've never really noticed, as i live by the interstate and feel things moving all the time. now tornadoes? i've been through tons of those. definitely scary too