There was a loud cracking noise as I waited in the drive-thru for my brunch July 4th. I kept looking around, wondering what might have caused that sound. My car hadn’t moved so I ruled out the SUV behind me having bumped me. The restaurant structure ahead under which I was to drive appeared normal. The all news radio station broadcast I had on wasn’t announcing anything unusual. When I returned home, sat down to eat and turned on my television the stations all were reporting an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude had occurred, so I concluded the noise I heard must have been that quake.
Eventually, the epicenter was announced to be about 150 miles north of the Los Angeles area in and around the small Mojave desert community of Trona and nearby larger Ridgecrest. Some mobile homes were red-tagged since they were knocked off their slabs leaving one older couple featured in the news with regrets they hadn’t purchased earthquake insurance, despite the not inexpensive cost Reports say only 10% of Californians do have the insurance. Homeowners Insurance doesn’t cover earthquake damage.
The California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) seismologists featured on TV provided the expected explanation that given the quake’s size this was likely the earthquake for which earlier smaller ones we hadn’t felt in the L.A. area had been foreshocks. Of course, there was a small percentage chance this 6.4 quake could be a foreshock for a larger one, but seemed unlikely.
That evening as I sat in my recliner I began to feel slight movement I recognized as an earthquake beginning, then a seeming brief pause which I thought was signaling the quake ending as I’ve experienced before. But then the motion didn’t stop and an easy rolling motion resumed with increasing intensity, finally giving me reason to think I’d better act, but just then the movement abruptly stopped. Did I “feel it” – yes, I did -- which the U.S. Geological Survey wants to know about.
We’re told to drop under a sturdy table and cover the back of our head. My table is next to a large dining area window, so any breaking glass could be a problem. Plus walking during the shaking often causes people to fall so all are cautioned to avoid doing so. This is especially problematic for those of us in the older population who may already be less secure on our feet, or some not capable of walking at all.
I have concluded to remain in my chair, then just cover my head with pillows I have within reach – much as I will do if a quake occurs when I’m in bed. There could be challenge enough after the shaking stops to move as quickly as possible to leave the house if that is judged to be safe and necessary.
Jerry Lee Lewis and Tom Jones
A Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On
This was a 7.1 earthquake Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones “the earthquakelady” announced on TV and the earlier 6.4 had now become a foreshock. Fortunately we had no power outage or I would have switched to my battery powered combination light and radio for my L.A. all news radio station KNX 1070.
USGS suggests there is a small percentage chance we could have an even larger quake and the 7.1 is a foreshock. These odds diminish with every passing hour. We’re told these quakes have no bearing on the much larger San Andreas Fault (runs near me) which is of concern as one site for a possible “Big One” earthquake for which California is long overdue and could be quite damaging if it occurs in the L. A. area.
Los Angeles Times writers provide a Saturday evening 7/6 update to their account of what some quake epicenter area older residents and their pets experienced. I feel especially sensitive to what they must encounter as I consider my own situation should a damaging earthquake occur where I live, though I’m in a single family house.
Once the quake ended I responded to this “wake up call” and reviewed my emergency preparations. Surprisingly to me was that a couple of my portable lights and radio were dead. They worked when last I checked them, but I thought the charge was declining so should have addressed the issue sooner. There are some additional actions I need to take around my house in addition to updating my emergency kit items, plus wanting to add a kit for my car.
As I physically age accomplishing some of these tasks disappointingly takes me longer than it once did. I’ve recognized for some time that I’ve gotten behind for a variety of reasons on a number of activities needing my attention. This “wake up” notice prompts me to decide I need to get busy on these overdue tasks. What that means is that I will probably blog a bit more erratically, including my visits to others blogs, but please know that I haven’t forgotten you.