Friday, March 9, 2012

Early Morning Quake of March 5, 2012

I wrote the following post on Monday March 5, 2012, when I couldn't go back to sleep after two successive earthquakes, a short and sharp 3.5 and a rattling and shaking 4.0 with an epicenter in El Cerrito, a town just northeast of my home:
I got up at about 4:30 am to go to the bathroom and then I couldn’t get back to sleep. I can almost always go back to sleep so I wondered what the problem was. 20 minutes later, I heard rumbling coming from the east. I knew it was an earthquake, and a wave passed through the building from my bedroom windows to the living room, parking lot, next building and on toward the bay.

And then there was more when the shaking began and I heard rattling windows, and tinkling wine glasses in the cabinet. I sat up in bed, and knew that this was not just a light roll of the earth. I got out of bed, and tried to slip my feet into my slippers but it was dark and everything was moving around me. I’m sure that my legs were shaking, too. I wished I had left my Crocs by the bed since they are sturdier than my slippers. I will start doing that again. Supposed I had to step over glass and debris? I couldn’t get under my bed because it’s too low, so I went to stand in the doorway until the shaking stopped. I’m not sure I made it to the doorway before the shaking stopped. It’s hard to make decisions when you’ve been somewhere between sleep and awake for an hour.

When it seemed that the coast was clear, I went into the next room and turned on the computer. I went to the U. C. Berkeley Seismological Center and clicked on the link to the USGS Earthquake site for Northern California. I love this site because it has maps with little colored squares that tell me where in the state the quakes have occurred. I can choose to look at quakes that have happened within the past 7 days, past month, past year, etc. Lots of choices for a mind like mine. I click on a square and I get another page, which provides more details on each quake, such as the time the quake occurred, how deep in the earth it originated, the location of the epicenter from several major towns or cities, latitude, and more geologist friendly details.

Turns out, this one was a 4.0 centered in East Richmond Hills. There is no such town on the map, but I figured that it meant the hills east of Richmond. Perhaps it’s a real estate created term like Hudson Terrace, which is really the Washington Heights section of Manhattan, where I lived when it was still referred to as Washington Heights. My instincts had told me that I couldn’t take this quake lying down. This one made me get out of bed. This one wasn’t over in a few seconds. My instincts were right.

SFGate reported that the epicenter was at a country club in El Cerrito. Is there a relationship between class and earthquakes? I’m not going there. I’m getting ready for work.
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