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Earthquake!
August 23, 2011 11:09 AM   Subscribe

5.8 earthquake on the east coast, everyone okay? The whole building was shaking here (a few miles from the epicenter).
posted by empath to MetaFilter-Related at 11:09 AM (473 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

We felt it here in Queens, NY.
posted by Jahaza at 11:09 AM on August 23, 2011


Some swaying and creaking here in Baltimore, but everything's fine. Disconcerting, wasn't it?
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:10 AM on August 23, 2011


Felt the floor swaying under my feet in Brooklyn. Thought I had lost my mind; had to confirm with others that it really happened. Various news orgs I follow on Twitter evacuated their newsrooms for a second.
posted by brina at 11:11 AM on August 23, 2011


I think I felt it. I was thinking, why is my chair moving, I gotta lay off sniffing glue. Then a few seconds later people started IMing me
posted by Ad hominem at 11:11 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Map of the earthquake here.
posted by Jahaza at 11:11 AM on August 23, 2011


It was very disconcerting! The only reason I realised it was an earthquake is that I was talking to a friend across town and we both felt the wobble at the same time.
posted by winna at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2011


I was reading MeFi and suddenly felt nauseous. Moreso than usual, I mean. Then I realized the whole building was shaking. I follow someone on Twitter in VA and they posted about it ten seconds later.

Crazy!
posted by bondcliff at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I felt it ALL OVER Facebook. It was nuts.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2011 [66 favorites]


Everyone in my office popped their heads from their cubicles. One of my co-workers walked over and looked out the window at the construction guys on the next building over. "What the fuck are they doing over there?" she asked.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


In an odd coincidence, I had just seen the headline about the rare earthquake in Colorado and was about to use Facebook to tease my friend who had just moved there, when I felt it here in NYC
posted by xo at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


phone lines are all busy :( I'm sure my family in DC are all fine, but it would be nice to talk to them.

when's the last time an earthquake of any magnitude happened on the east coast? I would have freaked out to feel one when I was there, it seems so unusual.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:12 AM on August 23, 2011


Ooops, my office building just put on their fire alarm and told us to leave. So I guess I'll go outside. 5.9 now, btw. The USGS updated their info.

USGS details page.

peachfuzz: I've seen nor heard no reports of real damage or injury in the DC area, if it makes you feel any better.
posted by skynxnex at 11:13 AM on August 23, 2011


Milwaukee was, sadly, unshaken. Pity, I could use a bit of earth wobbling terror to make my day more interesting and wake me up a bit.

(I say this as someone who has never been in an earthquake and assumes it's just like an amusement park ride, not some terror inducing event that everyone should be justifiably worried about.)
posted by quin at 11:13 AM on August 23, 2011


I've seen nor heard no reports of real damage or injury in the DC area

I heard it shook the wrinkles right out of the MLK Memorial statue's brow
posted by Greg Nog at 11:18 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Cleveland here -- I thought the construction guys working on the space across from mine dropped something big from one of their skylifts! ha! We're in a super-concrete former car factory built ca. 1916 so I guess it's more solid than I thought.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 11:18 AM on August 23, 2011


Just enough juice in northern NJ to make me think "man, this building is creaky." Cell service is tanking. Perhaps we got away with one here, east coast.
posted by mintcake! at 11:20 AM on August 23, 2011


I'm in the DC metro area in Maryland and it felt surprisingly strong, and like a rolling quake. I've lived in Japan and California and it was one of the strongest I've felt in a long time. Things went swinging, but nothing was broken. It was strong enough for us to go to the doorway though!
posted by Kimberly at 11:20 AM on August 23, 2011


I'm in a large building in midtown. Felt nothing. But friends from all over the city are IM'ing me like mad. Buildings in Chinatown, the Village and on the Upper West Side have been evacuated.
posted by zarq at 11:21 AM on August 23, 2011


I'm surprised it was apparently felt so far away from the epicenter. That's a big spread. I lived in SoCal for awhile and that's the one, biggest thing I don't miss. The fucking earthquakes.

Glad everyone appears to be all right so far.
posted by empyrean at 11:21 AM on August 23, 2011


lol. my dad just told me that he was using the air hose to tighten some lug nuts in his shop, so he didn't even notice...his cashier had to come and tell him!
posted by peachfuzz at 11:21 AM on August 23, 2011


Oh and my mom works in downtown DC and got evacuated.
posted by Kimberly at 11:22 AM on August 23, 2011


I think I was the only one in my 3rd-floor office in Philadelphia who didn't feel it. I was walking around, though, and apparently it was more obvious to those sitting. We didn't get evacuated.
posted by supercres at 11:24 AM on August 23, 2011


1950s wood-frame house on Long Island, New York. The whole house swayed for about half a minute, very noticably so.

Friend are reporting they felt it in DC, Toronto, Providence, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Boston, and North Carolina. Lots of reports of buildings evacuated, but no damage reports in so far.
posted by Andrhia at 11:25 AM on August 23, 2011


Glad everyone appears to be all right so far.

Lots of this.
posted by mintcake! at 11:26 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


One of my friends was on Facebook and exclaimed 'Earthquake in BROOKLYN?' I told her it must not be true because if it were, it would be on Metafilter.

So I guess it's true then.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:26 AM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm in a large building in midtown. Felt nothing.

Me too! But we definitely felt it. I'm on the 11th floor and my computer scooted a bit, the lights took a while to stop swinging, and I may or may not have yelled, "WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" while caught up in the moment.

Now that the fun's over, I really hope surrounding states are okay. Will be checking the news.
posted by functionequalsform at 11:26 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was rocking out to Girl Talk, so I assumed the light shaking in Southborough was simply this music being so extremely awesome. Missed out on the fun.
posted by Plutor at 11:27 AM on August 23, 2011


Glad everyone's all right. Glad I moved to California where we don't have earthquakes.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:29 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Well, now that we've had our earthquake, surely, we will be served some earth cake.
posted by ignignokt at 11:29 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


also: I just had an I-love-MetaFilter moment here. I would not have heard about this except maybe on the radio on my drive home or if some better-informed person here at the office remembered I was from DC and mentioned it...or when my mom called this evening to bitch at me for not checking up on them after the earthquake they apparently barely even noticed (I reached her. Turns out she is at a garden party and is much more interested in the apparently terrible shoes her friend is wearing than in the shaking ground beneath the shoes). Instead, I saw it here minutes after it happened and started calling them right away. So MeFi has saved the situation from swerving into unfilial, selfish daughter territory and made me into a thoughtful, caring daughter.

Thanks, MetaFilter!
posted by peachfuzz at 11:30 AM on August 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


And for those people in NC, there's a hurricane on its way also. Stay safe, people.
posted by cashman at 11:33 AM on August 23, 2011


Felt a slight tremor in Guelph, ON. I thought I was imagining it, then saw this.
posted by torisaur at 11:34 AM on August 23, 2011


Friday, my girlfriend and I heard the same thunderclap from a few miles away while talking on the phone. Today it was the earthquake.

Next week? "Hey, baby, is it the apocalypse over there, too?"
posted by griphus at 11:34 AM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


griphus, Hurricane Irene hits this weekend. So you know... don't tempt fate, bud.
posted by zarq at 11:35 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm in midtown and didn't feel anything....and I'm from LA!
posted by brujita at 11:36 AM on August 23, 2011


5.9 is pretty significant (says a native SoCali mefite). Glad y'all are okay. :)
posted by luckynerd at 11:36 AM on August 23, 2011


The damage in DC.
posted by griphus at 11:37 AM on August 23, 2011 [34 favorites]


In between DC and Baltimore here, totally freaked out. We didn't have any shelves fall or anything, but everyone went outside.
posted by sperose at 11:37 AM on August 23, 2011


5.8 ??? Back in Los Angeles we would have called that a speedbump.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:37 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


A lot of house creaking here in central Jersey. DO NOT WANT.
posted by crankylex at 11:38 AM on August 23, 2011


Poet_Lariat: "5.8 ??? Back in Los Angeles we would have called that a speedbump."

luckynerd: "5.9 is pretty significant (says a native SoCali mefite). Glad y'all are okay. :)"

Okay, y'all need to make up your minds now. :D
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, 5th floor in Rockefeller Center, and could feel a gentle rocking. The most terrifying "gentle rocking" I've ever experienced in my life, though, once I realized it was an earthquake.
posted by Grither at 11:39 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh, co-worker here in Boston was on a call with DC and NYC (amongst others), so got the rolling updates until we felt it here.
posted by ldthomps at 11:41 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know you're a life long Midwesterner when your first response (after realizing it wasn't "the big one") is a pang of jealousy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:41 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Poet_Lariat: "5.8 ??? Back in Los Angeles we would have called that a speedbump."

luckynerd: "5.9 is pretty significant (says a native SoCali mefite). Glad y'all are okay. :)"
Okay, y'all need to make up your minds now.


That extra .1 is *huge*, man.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:42 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


You know you're a life long Midwesterner when your first response (after realizing it wasn't "the big one") is a pang of jealousy.

It felt like a train going by really close. I work for a big ISP in richmond and our network is up and happy, but traffic is through the roof, especially on our phone switches.
posted by empath at 11:44 AM on August 23, 2011


Felt it in Cincinnati Ohio, too. Here in the geology department, shit briefly went crazy. There were many high-fives. I'm not entirely sure why, but damn did I hand 'em out like candy.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 11:47 AM on August 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


Slightly off to the side, but in this video of the White House during the quake, why are all those people on the roof? Is there a permanent rooftop Secret Service brigade or something?
posted by mudpuppie at 11:47 AM on August 23, 2011


You know you're a life long Midwesterner when your first response (after realizing it wasn't "the big one") is a pang of jealousy.

The only two earthquakes I ever felt was when I lived in Iowa.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:47 AM on August 23, 2011


Dude! We were just getting started on an interesting discussion about *why* people feel and don't feel earthquakes and also I wanted to know if it was science! that the east coast is in fact wobblier. I need answers people!
posted by dame at 11:48 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Where were you when the earthquake hit?

I was eating a chicken finger... it was good, but the earth didn't move for me. Someone did hang up on me though so they could call their sister in Spotsylvania (which is actually very close to the epicenter. Hope they're okay.)
posted by empyrean at 11:48 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Felt it here on Long Island. I was up on the 6th floor of my office building. We assumed that the building was collapsing, until we all got outside and someone said there'd been an earthquake. This should tell you something about how much faith we place in university construction and safety standards.
posted by pemberkins at 11:48 AM on August 23, 2011


I was chatting with a friend in NY when it hit DC. He didn't believe me until it hit NY a few minutes later.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:48 AM on August 23, 2011


Hey! Why did the post on the Blue get deleted?
posted by Asparagirl at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because cortex.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Poet_Lariat: "5.8 ??? Back in Los Angeles we would have called that a speedbump."

This California my-dick-tectonic-plate-is-bigger-than-yours stuff is everywhere right now, so a little fact finding is in order. California hasn't had an earthquake that big in more than a year, and even that one was offshore. The last 5.8+ earthquake on land in California was in September 2004.
posted by Plutor at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


I felt nothing. Try harder next time.
posted by Eideteker at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What a rip off, I barely had time for looting.
posted by dr_dank at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


My comment from the deleted post: Wait! I think I did feel it! Like 30-40 min ago I was like, man, the people upstairs are walking really loudly. My chair is actually shaking from the movement. Then, to my relief, it stopped. However, I failed to notice that no one was home.

I feel better now.


We're in Ulster County, NY and on the first floor with noisy little girls who live upstairs, and it seriously didn't feel all that different from that. Also, I'm sitting in a rocking chair. So for those wondering how someone could miss it . . . rocking chairs!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011


Before the FPP as deleted someone noted "and this one was quite deep as they go." which is incorrect. Half a mile is not deep, and is in fact quite shallow.
posted by Big_B at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011


If you felt it, please go fill out the "Did you feel it?" form on the USGS page for this event - it's for Science!

We (here in CA) were on our weekly comms call with staff in our DC office when it hit. Suddenly everyone in DC was all "Did you feel that? Was that an earthquake?!" and then they ran out, without hanging up. Apparently even the White House was evacuated, from what a friend who works there said on his facebook.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a permanent rooftop Secret Service brigade or something?

"I saw people on the roof of the White House. What do they do?

The people you saw on the roof of the White House are members of the Secret Service Countersniper Team, which is composed of specially trained Uniformed Division officers. Their mission is to prevent any long-range threat to a protectee. They are trained with specially built weapons and other sophisticated equipment. "

From: Here
posted by empyrean at 11:49 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harrumph. I made an hilarious geology pun in the now deleted post on the blue.

This was the first quake I've ever felt (grew up in New England) and it was weird and kind of exciting. Felt like a huge truck or a train going by.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:50 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Repeat: did not feel anything in a 5th-floor apartment, downtown Detroit, but Facebook tells me I am wrong (or just tectonically insensitive).
posted by joe lisboa at 11:50 AM on August 23, 2011


NYC based MeFites, what floor were you on and how fast did you go down the stairs, on a scale of 1-10.

I'm trying to figure out how embarrassed to be about my 7.5 magnitude exit from the 7th floor of an office in Tribeca.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:50 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


(have at it, Rock Steady!)
posted by joe lisboa at 11:50 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi from Iceland, welcome to my world, East Coast US.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 11:50 AM on August 23, 2011


I really liked the earthquake. I thought it was a lot of fun.
posted by I Foody at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2011


If you felt it, please go fill out the "Did you feel it?" form on the USGS page for this event - it's for Science!

Yeah, the first thing i did was to go to the USGS page, and when i saw that they didn't have it on the site yet, I reported it.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


mudpuppie: "Slightly off to the side, but in this video of the White House during the quake, why are all those people on the roof? Is there a permanent rooftop Secret Service brigade or something?"

Yup:
"The people you saw on the roof of the White House are members of the Secret Service Countersniper Team, which is composed of specially trained Uniformed Division officers. Their mission is to prevent any long-range threat to a protectee. They are trained with specially built weapons and other sophisticated equipment."
posted by Plutor at 11:51 AM on August 23, 2011


Is it normal for an earthquake to have such a huge geographic spread? Our office in Rochester said they felt it.
posted by empath at 11:52 AM on August 23, 2011


Someone in the thread in the blue asked what they should be doing after the quake.

Which was a confusing question. I usually don't stop what I'm doing for a 5.8.
posted by eyeballkid at 11:52 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Secret Service has a Kids' FAQ? That's somehow oddly endearing.
posted by kmz at 11:53 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it normal for an earthquake to have such a huge geographic spread? Our office in Rochester said they felt it.

Yes. We can sometimes feel the ones on the Mexican border.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:53 AM on August 23, 2011


NYC based MeFites, what floor were you on and how fast did you go down the stairs, on a scale of 1-10.

I was looking out the window of my (second) floor office the whole time and no one down here bothered.
posted by griphus at 11:53 AM on August 23, 2011


The people on the White House are always there, IIRC.

But I just heard the National Cathedral in DC was damaged, and they've evacuated all the national monuments.

W/r/t the East Coast vs. West Coast debate (v.2, non-rap), someone on the radio pointed out that most of our buildings except for very recently constructed ones are also not constructed in earthquake-friendly ways and are thus more 'brittle'.
posted by Miko at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The people you saw on the roof of the White House are members of the Secret Service Countersniper Team, which is composed of specially trained Uniformed Division officers. Their mission is to prevent any long-range threat to a protectee. They are trained with specially built weapons and other sophisticated equipment.

Interesting, thanks. I wonder if their special, sophisticated equipment includes diapers, because they kind of looked like they were ready to pee in their pants.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is the link I posted in the other thread, which I think says the East Coast is wobbly. But maybe people with better numeracy would know.
posted by dame at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011


You know you're a life long Midwesterner when your first response (after realizing it wasn't "the big one") is a pang of jealousy.

Don't worry, your time will come soon enough.
posted by MikeKD at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011


This California my-dick-tectonic-plate-is-bigger-than-yours stuff is everywhere right now, so a little fact finding is in order. California hasn't had an earthquake that big in more than a year, and even that one was offshore. The last 5.8+ earthquake on land in California was in September 2004.

And this one was the biggest centered in VA since 1887. So yeah, big deal. I'm not sure if it's a big deal in a 'do we build our buildings in a way to handle this?' but I can certainly see why folks may be concerned about their buildings, especially in the first hour or so.

(Everybody place nice about earthquakes and I promise not to make fun of those who can't deal with an 1/2" of snow.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


@empath, they just addressed that on the news explaining that the rocky terrain allows the energy of the quake to travel a wide distance, which is a "good" thing basically because the earthquake won't be as intense and devastating in one spot - it's kind of dispersed.
posted by Sassyfras at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


LOL 5.9

I remember the 5.9 Whiitier Quake in LA, I was about a mile from the epicenter. I recall there was only one significantly damaged building, a dry cleaner burned down because its natural gas pipe broke. A friend of mine had just dropped off all his laundry there, he lost everything but the clothes on his back. The dry cleaner said their insurance would reimburse him, if he could find his receipt. Of course he couldn't.

I slept through the 5.6 aftershock.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which was a confusing question. I usually don't stop what I'm doing for a 5.8.

Yeah, but keep in mind, they don't build earthquake proof buildings on the east coast, necessarily.
posted by empath at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see the Blue still suffers from rampant overcuration.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm in VA and thought I had lost my mind for a minute. We have pictures down, some other stuff hit the floor but, no apparent damage. My husband is about 10 miles from the epicenter, his building has been evacuated and is being checked out.

A friend's parents' home has a large crack through their living room ceiling.

North Anna nuclear power plant has gone offline, it is fairly close to the epicenter as well. No idea if there is any damage there or not.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011


Hey! Why did the post on the Blue get deleted?

Because MetaFilter is not Twitter.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:54 AM on August 23, 2011 [15 favorites]


I was on G-chat when it happened and therefore had immediate confirmation that it wasn't a Graboid lurking under my house.
posted by lydhre at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I usually don't stop what I'm doing for a 5.8.

Depends on where you are. If you're at the epicenter and it's shallow, you'll be stopping. If you're 100 miles away, you can go back to what you're doing.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011


I'm trying to figure out how embarrassed to be about my 7.5 magnitude exit from the 7th floor of an office in Tribeca.

It depends how shrilly you were screaming as you fled.
posted by elizardbits at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


But I just heard the National Cathedral in DC was damaged,

Oh no!
posted by rtha at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011


Reposting my Overprotective Jewish Mama advice from the deleted thread:

Look around for any damage to your building -- any cracked walls or stuff like that? Everything look okay outside too? Check your gas lines; California has lines that turn off automatically, even at individual homes, but I don't think east coast buildings have that feature. My house's gas line once shut itself off from the shaking from a big windstorm.

Find out if any of your neighbors need help -- especially if they're elderly and may have fallen over from the shaking.

Take this opportunity to put together an earthquake kit at your house, car, and/or office with bottled water, a flashlight, a Walkman radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food (peanut butter, trail mix, granola bars, whatever), Kleenex or toilet paper, first aid stuff, and a blanket, stuffed in an easy to carry backpack. Hey, if this doesn't get you to stop procrastinating and finally make a kit, what will?

Otherwise, just count yourself lucky, and enjoy getting an unanticipated work break -- and wait for likely aftershocks.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


tectonically insensitive

*Clears throat* Well, then, stop being such a little... *Sigh* No, it's not the same. Sorry.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


P.S. Is there an updated list of Topics You May Not Post to the Blue About, for my future reference? Didn't realize earthquakes were on it.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I linked this in the earthquake thread on the blue (now deleted.) Honestly, I think the reaction is much more fascinating than the earthquake itself.
posted by myelin sheath at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


RT @DevilsAdvocate Because MetaFilter is not Twitter.
posted by griphus at 11:55 AM on August 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


nathancaswell, I was on the fourth floor of a four-story brownstone, and I did not go downstairs until half an hour after the fact, and then only because I was feeling unmoored and needed to get a dose of reality from Outside. I stood under a door frame during the quake itself. Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Stand under a door, or get under your desk?
posted by brina at 11:57 AM on August 23, 2011


This USGS map shows the intensity of the shaking, based on the reports taken in the Did You Feel It? survey.

A 5.9 is just about perfectly-sized, verging on uncomfortably scary. It shakes you hard enough to have that "oh, shit" feeling, but doesn't break all your stuff (So it really can be both big and not-so-big)
posted by stefanie at 11:57 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Harrisonburg, VA-We had lots of shaking. My office building felt like it was swaying. At first we thought that it was construction/ demolition at a nearby building. Everyone ran out of their offices into the hallway just looking confused and not sure of what to do. Some co-workers heading back from lunch did not feel it while driving.
posted by JennyJupiter at 11:57 AM on August 23, 2011


Look around for any damage to your building -- any cracked walls or stuff like that?

Don't forget to unplug your Internet, and shake the end of the Ethernet cable to drain off the excess seismic energy.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:57 AM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, but keep in mind, they don't build earthquake proof buildings on the east coast, necessarily.

My city is almost entirely built out of un-reinforced brick. Any stronger an earthquake and it would turn into a big pile of red dust in a hurry.
posted by octothorpe at 11:57 AM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


People from California sure can be assholes.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 11:58 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am wondering about the description "deeply thin".
posted by Miko at 11:58 AM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


P.S. Is there an updated list of Topics You May Not Post to the Blue About, for my future reference? Didn't realize earthquakes were on it.

There's a list of Topics You May Not Make Thin Breaking-News Posts About, and on that list is Everything.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


I'm working at home today, so I was putting away dishes at the time and thought I'd unbalanced the crockery at first. Nothing has fallen, but I'm rattled.
(Bethesda-Chevy Chase View area)
posted by bad grammar at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011


Thanks Asparagirl!

I posted a couple years ago on the blue about a VA earthquake and it was a tiny one. This is just not what we are used to here.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011


Re: asparagirl's comment:

Yes! Mr. Sophie and I, having been through Sylmar, Northridge, Whittier Narrows and all of the others since 1970 are prepared with a shelter in place plan, 2 go bags and a survival box for 2 weeks because there is no effing way I am fighting the vast hordes of Angelenos for a bottle of water and a cot.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011


P.S. Is there an updated list of Topics You May Not Post to the Blue About, for my future reference? Didn't realize earthquakes were on it.

Here's the thing: Shut up.
posted by Gator at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's a list of Topics You May Not Make Thin Breaking-News Posts About, and on that list is Everything.

Surely not everything is on this list. If mathowie died I don't think that FPP would get deleted.
posted by madcaptenor at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011


@empath, they just addressed that on the news explaining that the rocky terrain allows the energy of the quake to travel a wide distance, which is a "good" thing basically because the earthquake won't be as intense and devastating in one spot - it's kind of dispersed.

I always thought it was the opposite; that the extra rocks (ie, mountains) in the west "absorbed" the seismic energy whereas in the east, the lack of dense rocks allowed the energy to travel farther.
posted by MikeKD at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011


Because MetaFilter is not Twitter.

It's not a ObituaryFilter either but some guy named Frank died apparently.
posted by Big_B at 11:59 AM on August 23, 2011


But I just heard the National Cathedral in DC was damaged,

Oh no!


The tip of the National Cathedral in Washington spire crashed onto the steps on Pilgrim Road. Three of the four tentacles of the central tower are down and there’s significant damage, said spokesman Richard Weinberg. No injuries were reported.

Sounds pretty bad, considering.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


My city is almost entirely built out of un-reinforced brick. Any stronger an earthquake and it would turn into a big pile of red dust in a hurry.

Yeah no shit. Nearly all of our buildings predate the 1906 earthquake by a generation or two. Ever see the photos of that? That was just a 7.9.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


P.S. Is there an updated list of Topics You May Not Post to the Blue About, for my future reference?

Yes. We try to outline some of them in the FAQ but generally speaking an "OMG news happening now" without it being a link to something on the web will often be deleted unless it's something of truly epic importance.

If mathowie died we'd delete it and tell you to post to MetaTalk. He is, however, immortal so we are not concerned.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2011 [30 favorites]


5.9? You wusses. I was on magnetar SHR 1806-20 when a 32 hit. We called her Ol' Bessie and just rode it out.
posted by griphus at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


We felt out all the way out here in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The building was swaying back and forth. We could see the projector on the ceiling moving.

Never experienced an Earthquake before, a little bit freaked out about it (also thought, scientifically speaking, that it was really interesting to feel it so far away!)
posted by royalsong at 12:00 PM on August 23, 2011


Is there an updated list of Topics You May Not Post to the Blue About, for my future reference? Didn't realize earthquakes were on it.

It's not "earthquakes" that's on the list. It's "breaking news stories that, as yet, have very very few details, and are not so big as to be once-in-a-decade level events."
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:01 PM on August 23, 2011


Which was a confusing question. I usually don't stop what I'm doing for a 5.8.

Yeah, but keep in mind, they don't build earthquake proof buildings on the east coast, necessarily.


And also that California hasn't had a 5.8 (or 5.9 as the case may be) since 2004. I respect that y'all know your earthquakes but let's be real.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:01 PM on August 23, 2011


Stand under a door, or get under your desk?

Do not stand in a doorway. Do get under a solid desk or table.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:01 PM on August 23, 2011


I was in the library at UMD when it happened, and as I was watching the stacks shake back and forth knocking loose a few books, I realized "I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing right now." Luckily it stopped after... a minute? I started laughing nervously by myself, and made my way for the stairs. Then the alarms went off, and everyone evacuated.

While I was standing outside enjoying the sun I got a chance to chat with a girl that I like who works at the library and was in one of my first semester classes, so there's that too.

Aside from the warning that it may be a foreshock, it was definitely a unique experience.
posted by codacorolla at 12:01 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Three of the four tentacles of the central tower are down and there’s significant damage

I was unaware that Cthulhu had a house of worship in our nation's capital.
posted by elizardbits at 12:02 PM on August 23, 2011 [34 favorites]


It was neat! I'm in Boston, and the building lurched. I thought I was just falling asleep in my meeting, though.

Any injuries (IRL)? Not just MeFi--I saw about the National Cathedral, and CNN has breaking news that "standing water in the Pentagon may be due to a broken pipe." I'm on tenterhooks.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:02 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I felt it in my 30th floor office in downtown NYC. We didn't evacuate, although I did go down (via the stairs) to take a little walk afterwards.
posted by grobstein at 12:02 PM on August 23, 2011


Sophie 1, I know people who have survived explosions because they were standing under doorways. By my understanding that is one of the safest places to be in this sort of event.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:03 PM on August 23, 2011


Sure as hell felt it in Mclean, VA, 2nd story of the office building. The ceiling tiles rattled first, and I was like "wtf is the 3rd floor doing". I had just reached for the handle of the big glass doors out to the lobby, and they kind of FWOOMED like when it's really windy, and then I started freaking. Everyone around here seems to be safe, although they're reporting some damage to the National Cathedral, and one of our malls.
posted by specialagentwebb at 12:03 PM on August 23, 2011


Since the Washington Monument is supposedly leaning (according to crazy Facebook people). Here's the live view
(I think it's just the camera that's leaning, but that could be me)
posted by FreezBoy at 12:04 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was out hiking with the dog (near DC) and didn't feel a thing, but now I have a good explanation as to why all of a sudden she started tearing around in circles at top speed, alternating with trying to dig a hole under a log. At first I thought she'd found the Most Interesting Chipmunk in the World.
posted by drlith at 12:04 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


East Coast/West Coast Geology (Short, short, short version):

East Coast: Old, very consolidated, hard, dense rocks with some loose stuff on top
West Coast: Huge mix of young, soft unconsolidated rocks; accreted terranes (ocean floor sediments); blended up and foliated metamorphics; and some hard dense rocks
posted by Big_B at 12:04 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


FWIW - there are between 50 to 70 quakes in the U.S. every year in the 5 to 5.9 range. If they don't occur very often in your area the scary factor gets pretty high but not much damage gets done in such a quake these days. The mid 90's Northridge (CA) quake was 6.7 and I remember seeing buildings on Ventura Blvd that had partially crumbled which was weird looking.

The Sylmar quake of 71 was only 6.6 but it killed a lot of people and split the V.A. hospital in that region pretty much in two but I think that was before a lot of the newer earthquake building standards took effect.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I vote Gator and Artifice_Eternity as co-captains of the MetaFilter debate team. We go up against Fark in a week, so I hope you have your cream pies and hand-buzzers ready.
posted by griphus at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


From the Southern California Earthquake Center:

An enduring earthquake image of California is a collapsed adobe home with the door frame as the only standing part. From this came our belief that a doorway is the safest place to be during an earthquake. True -- if you live in an old, unreinforced adobe house. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house. You are safer under a table.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Twelfth floor downtown DC here. Big rumbling noise and building shook sharply from side to side and floor . It continued for a bit, less sharply, for maybe 30 seconds (or maybe it just felt that long). They evacuated us then. No bars open, unfortunately. Now back in the building, but everyone's pretty much gone home. Very freaky -- I'm still feeling shaky. But no damage I've heard about. One of my dogs reportedly is hiding in the bathtub and won't come out, though.
posted by Cocodrillo at 12:06 PM on August 23, 2011


NYC based MeFites, what floor were you on and how fast did you go down the stairs, on a scale of 1-10.

Sixth floor, people started to get up and evacuate, but then someone checked Twitter and we all ended up just getting back on the internet.

There were two architects in the room. If they had bolted, I would have followed.
posted by hermitosis at 12:08 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Before the FPP as deleted someone noted "and this one was quite deep as they go." which is incorrect. Half a mile is not deep, and is in fact quite shallow.

The information seems to have been revised. At that time I had a depth of 3.7 miles, possibly from the USGS page itself, and the source I linked placed it even deeper (5.5+).

I would have to call a quake with such shallow depth and such broad geographic effect at least uncommon. It probably does have something to do with the geology of the eastern seaboard, viz. New Madrid being felt in Charleston.
posted by dhartung at 12:08 PM on August 23, 2011


Felt it strongly all the way in Ottawa, it went on for 20-30s with a couple of aftershocks. It felt a lot like the one last year, in the 4 range or so.

We're about 1000 km/600 mi from the epicentre.
posted by bonehead at 12:08 PM on August 23, 2011


But no, I'm not ok. It's just not related to the quake.

Thanks for asking.
posted by Eideteker at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2011


East Coast/West Coast Geology (Short, short, short version):

Also: we had EPMD.
posted by mintcake! at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


A few of the Baltimore bars that I follow on Facebook are already having Earthquake parties with reduced prices and themed drinks.
posted by codacorolla at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


According to USGS, a door frame, even one without a door on it, is not actually a great place to stand during an earthquake:

"During an earthquake you should head for the doorway.
FICTION: That’s outdated advice. In past earthquakes in unreinforced masonry structures and adobe homes, the door frame may have been the only thing left standing in the aftermath of an earthquake. Hence, it was thought that safety could be found by standing in doorways. In modern homes doorways are no stronger than any other parts of the house and usually have doors that will swing and can injure you. YOU ARE SAFER PRACTICING THE “DROP, COVER, AND HOLD” maneuver under a sturdy piece of furniture like a strong desk or table. If indoors, stay there. Drop to the floor, make yourself small and get under a desk or table or stand in a corner. If outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls and power lines. If in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outside walls, stay out of elevators, and get under a table. If driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses and power lines. Stay inside your car until the shaking is over. If in a crowded public place, do not rush for the doors. Crouch and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms. You should practice the “DROP, COVER AND HOLD” method at work and at home at least twice a year."
posted by brina at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Durham, NC checking in. We got a truck-rumbling-the-ground vibration for a couple seconds and... that was it.

Speaking as somebody who's only been a permanent resident here for a few days, this plus the hurricane scheduled for Saturday is making me appreciate the peace and quiet of my old hometown, which only had occasional blizzards and tornadoes.
posted by ardgedee at 12:09 PM on August 23, 2011


My city is almost entirely built out of un-reinforced brick. Any stronger an earthquake and it would turn into a big pile of red dust in a hurry.

And a big chunk of my city is on landfill. Buh-bye.

Felt nothing while working 30 miles north of Boston, tho people near us said they felt shaking.
posted by Melismata at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2011


bonehead: "Felt it strongly all the way in Ottawa, it went on for 20-30s with a couple of aftershocks. It felt a lot like the one last year, in the 4 range or so.

We're about 1000 km/600 mi from the epicentre.
"

Whoa. Holy cow!
posted by zarq at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2011


Artifice_Eternity: "Here's the thing: Shut up.

Fuck off."

Would you both please shut the fuck up?


This stops here. This is not the "we swear for fun" thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


We didn't feel anything here in Quebec. Or at least I didn't.
posted by Kitteh at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2011


Well did just about everything wrong; standing right next to the ginormous window (check). However I did take the stairs to evacuate.

Everyone on the floor of my building immediately assumed that it was related to the construction going on across the street...that somehow they had done something to mess with our building's foundations. So we evacuated still having no idea that it was an earthquake until after we got outside and saw everyone else outside as well. We got back into our building after about 15 minutes but now there is talk of early dismissal for fed/govt. employees.
posted by kaybdc at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2011


(I think it's just the camera that's leaning, but that could be me)

I'm not certain that really shows anything, but when I fine-rotated it to level the horizon, the monument still has some off-vertical appearance. I suppose we'll have engineers checking it out regardless.
posted by dhartung at 12:10 PM on August 23, 2011


I was sitting on a fire escape in Baltimore. Things got disturbingly wobbly, but all in all I was more elated than scared.
posted by cloeburner at 12:11 PM on August 23, 2011


I evacuated to my lobby to stand around. Everyone was complaining about CNN overcovering the earthquake. Gotta love New York.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:11 PM on August 23, 2011


Friend of mine is a librarian in a brand-new library in the DC area. Apparently watching a library-full of unreinforced bookshelves sway is pretty fucking terrifying.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 12:12 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and it looks like the Cathedral is closed this afternoon, so in the unlikely event any of you were planning to go by and look at damage/attend evensong don't bother.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:12 PM on August 23, 2011


Felt it in Boston- in fact, the whole building was evacuated after shaking for approx 20 seconds. Work is actually built on top of a pier, so we're assuming that amplified the tremor.
posted by jenkinsEar at 12:12 PM on August 23, 2011


Sooooo raise your hand if you had no idea that VA had a fault line.
posted by cavalier at 12:13 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think having a Leaning Monument of Washington would be pretty awesome
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:13 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


SO now talking to grandmother in Richmond. And yes, I raise my hand, I had no clue...
posted by Namlit at 12:14 PM on August 23, 2011


I suspect that Appalachian Mountains and parts of the Canadian Shield were just rung like a big gong.

Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?
posted by bonehead at 12:14 PM on August 23, 2011


I work on the 13th floor of a building in downtown Rochester, NY but we didn't feel anything unusual although others in the area have reported that they did. The building is right next to a major demolition site and we get shaken multiple times every day so it just went unnoticed. I seriously doubt the building, or any of the others around it, were built with earthquakes in mind so I'm glad we're so far away.
posted by tommasz at 12:14 PM on August 23, 2011

Poet_Lariat: "5.8 ??? Back in Los Angeles we would have called that a speedbump."

luckynerd: "5.9 is pretty significant (says a native SoCali mefite). Glad y'all are okay. :)"
zarq: "Okay, y'all need to make up your minds now."

Tell_No_Lies: "That extra .1 is *huge*, man."
It's a logarithmic scale.
posted by Ardiril at 12:14 PM on August 23, 2011


I think having a Leaning Monument of Washington would be pretty awesome

I can feel the late-night talk show and political talking head jokes on the horizon already. Barf.
posted by codacorolla at 12:15 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm on the fifth floor of an old building in Chicago, and the floor got briefly wobbly. My coworkers and I were also confused as to why our chairs were moving. I haven't been able to call home to Virginia, but everybody who has checked in by email seems okay so far.
posted by treefort at 12:15 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


brina, thanks for the correction. good to know.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:16 PM on August 23, 2011


Sooooo raise your hand if you had no idea that VA had a fault line.

If there are mountains, there are earthquakes.
posted by empath at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2011


Sooooo raise your hand if you had no idea that VA had a fault line.

I'm pretty sure that the largest earthquakes that have shaken the continental United States (in recorded history) occurred on the East Coast, around Ohio or Virginia. The most destructive non-volcanic ones, though, likely have happened in California.

But, that Richter Scale is kind of bogus. The logarithmic scale doesn't really make much sense to me. I don't know why we can't have a linear scale.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2011


As I mentioned in the deleted thread we felt it here in Providence, RI.

I filled out the USGS survey just a few minutes ago and they had "moved to a doorway" as an option that people could select as an answer on their "actions you took" (or whatever) question. I wonder the form chastises users who do choose it.
posted by safetyfork at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2011


Experienced it here in Durham, NC as a loud rattling sound of unknown origin. Looked outside but no wind or rain or anything. Didn't really feel a rumbling, I guess, but then I noticed I was really queasy. All in all, pretty dang cool, I gotta say (hoping there are no injuries, of course). My first earthquake!
posted by statolith at 12:17 PM on August 23, 2011


Strangely, in Crested Butte Co, today, nobody seemed to have even heard about the nearby 5.3 quake this morning. Do mountains have a dampening effect on this sort of thing?
posted by Navelgazer at 12:18 PM on August 23, 2011


North Anna nuclear power plant has gone offline, it is fairly close to the epicenter as well. No idea if there is any damage there or not.

Two Nuclear Reactors Taken Offline Following 5.8 Magnitude Earthquake in Virginia.
posted by ericb at 12:19 PM on August 23, 2011


Oh man, do I have to repost my snark here? Fine.

a) 5.8? I've forgotten how to count that low.

b) FRACKING. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!


As you can see, leftovers are simply not the same.
posted by GuyZero at 12:19 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Navelgazer, I was the one standing in a doorway, so I'm glad I know it now, too! Although, to be honest, it probably was the sturdiest spot in the apartment.
posted by brina at 12:19 PM on August 23, 2011


Cue the crazies saying that the MLK memorial is somehow at fault. Or that god is punishing the president...

Yeah, I made a fault joke.
posted by futz at 12:20 PM on August 23, 2011



Sooooo raise your hand if you had no idea that VA had a fault line.


I knew! In fact we have a pretty major one.


Also, the Harry Nice bridge on 301 from Maryland to King George, VA is now closed due to the earthquake.
posted by SuzySmith at 12:20 PM on August 23, 2011


According to Jim Norvelle with Dominion Power, [the nuclear plant at] North Anna was designed to withstand a magnitude 5.9 – 6.1 earthquake.
posted by empath at 12:20 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm on the fifth floor of an old building in Chicago, and the floor got briefly wobbly. My coworkers and I were also confused as to why our chairs were moving.

I'm a couple miles south of her in Chicago and I didn't feel a thing.

Friends reported that the Burnett building on Wacker & Dearborn was shaking like a Polaroid picture.
posted by Lieber Frau at 12:20 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just had an odd moment. Looked up "fault lines in new york city" and came up with an article related to one of my very first FPP's.
posted by zarq at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?

I'm in Maine, and I did not feel it. Everyone else in the building did. I'm just going to assume that they're all crazy and I'm the only sane one around here if that's ok with everyone.
posted by that's candlepin at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2011


Also, the Harry Nice bridge on 301 from Maryland to King George, VA is now closed due to the earthquake.

I would shit myself if i had been on that bridge during an earthquake. I once refused to drive over that bridge during a thunderstorm, even.
posted by empath at 12:21 PM on August 23, 2011


I wonder the form chastises users who do choose it.

I hope that at least they clear up the confusion. We were told to move to a doorway when we were in school in the 70's but since then, the earthquake preparedness folks have done a really good job of disabusing Angelenos of that notion (shout out to Lucy Jones and Kate Hutton!)
posted by Sophie1 at 12:22 PM on August 23, 2011


If mathowie died we'd delete it and tell you to post to MetaTalk. He is, however, immortal so we are not concerned.

You keep saying that and I keep suggesting we test your assertion and you keep calling the cops on me.

THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!
posted by Ryvar at 12:22 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


In old town Alexandria (just outside DC)...was walking out of coffee shop when it happened..had some small debris (dust-like, just big enough to feel) from the building fall on my head. Our office building has new cracks showing in the stairwell between 1st and 2nd floor, and a window or two broke. People inside at the time said the building swaying lasted for about 10 seconds

Overall pretty minor here, lots of people standing outside for awhile.

Was strange to be on the street right as it happened and watch people...one or two places people were running out of the building into the street...others you'd see a few people poke their head out, see other people standing around, and generally just ask WTF was that. Everyone thought it was something in their immediate area, until you saw people across the street acting the same, and then look up and down the road and see buildings emptying everywhere.
posted by blind.wombat at 12:22 PM on August 23, 2011


Yeah, Sophie1, you win this round. I was wrong.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:24 PM on August 23, 2011


Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?

I am in Maine and was in a loud meeting and heard something that may have been the earthquake or may have been someone installing the foosball table. Someone from another office in Portland said they felt it though.
posted by mikepop at 12:24 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The state is on fire, we've a hurricane coming, and now, earthquakes. Apparently Virginia is self-destructing.
posted by sephira at 12:24 PM on August 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Our flight out of North Carolina (where there's also a hurricane warning) to NYC got diverted to Allentown, Pennsylvania because the flight towers at JFK had to be evacuated. They're saying that the airport is expected to reopen at 4 PM EST, though, so I guess there was little significant impact.
posted by Phire at 12:25 PM on August 23, 2011


i have a fish. in my pantsquake.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:25 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't feel anything in Bedford, MA at work. I figured this low-bid government building would have crumbled with the slightest nudge. Our travel services people are telling us Reagan National Airport is "on hold" and there's damage to Union Station.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:25 PM on August 23, 2011


A shocking photo of devastation in DC following the earthquake.
posted by koeselitz at 12:25 PM on August 23, 2011 [12 favorites]


Our office building has new cracks showing in the stairwell between 1st and 2nd floor, and a window or two broke.

Obviously this is a component of Obama's new job plan. Mobilize the contractors!
posted by mikepop at 12:25 PM on August 23, 2011


...wondering if the Washington Monument is now leaning to the left or to the right .... I'm thinking the latter...
posted by Poet_Lariat at 12:26 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that the largest earthquakes that have shaken the continental United States (in recorded history) occurred on the East Coast, around Ohio or Virginia.

New Madrid, actually. (Closest major city is Memphis.)

Big_B: they keep revising the depth upward, now at 0.1km. At this rate it will soon be judged a mid-air earthquake.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Look, the blue is for posterity. 100 years from now researchers should not have to wade throught hundreds of people checking in. The blue is serious business folks!
posted by Ad hominem at 12:27 PM on August 23, 2011


The state is on fire, we've a hurricane coming, and now, earthquakes. Apparently Virginia is self-destructing.

Don't forget the locusts awhile back.

Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?

Nothing in Tallahassee.
posted by empyrean at 12:29 PM on August 23, 2011


That extra .1 is *huge*, man.

It actually is significant, considering that n+1.0 on the Richter scale is 10 times as severe as n. This might be easier to grasp if the Richter scale were 0-100 instead of 0-10, since adding 1 would seem more significant than adding .1.
posted by John Cohen at 12:29 PM on August 23, 2011


This is the type of news story that can generate comments with lots of personal stories, not just a "Well, that sure happened." type discussion. It didn't have to be deleted, but doing it here is just as well.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:29 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


All of a sudden, I felt dizzy and shaky. I couldn't explain why, but I'm almost 38 weeks pregnant, and I was thinking what I was feeling was close enough to some preeclampsia symptoms that I should probably call my midwife. And as my boss was talking to me, I was making mental notes about what I would have to do if it turned out I did have pre-e and had to get to the hospital.

Then a bunch of people came running into the suite shouting, "Did you feel that?!?!" and then I knew it wasn't just me and that the earth had moved. And I was immensely relieved.

I work in downtown Boston.

Dr.E at home on the North Shore didn't feel a thing.
posted by zizzle at 12:29 PM on August 23, 2011


Obviously this is a component of Obama's new job plan. Mobilize the contractors!

Obama wanted a 3.4 earthquake but the Republicans wanted a 5.9 so they compromised and got a 5.8.
posted by GuyZero at 12:29 PM on August 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


Photo of National Cathedral Damage
posted by empath at 12:30 PM on August 23, 2011


I heard it shook the wrinkles right out of the MLK Memorial statue's brow

Coincidentally, I was walking over to see that on my lunch break when the earthquake happened. I wouldn't have known anything happened except that the police were herding people out of the Lincoln Memorial and away from the Washington Monument. Then a helicopter started circling around the Monument for whatever reason. I never did get to see the new MLK Memorial, but I guess I'll try again tomorrow.
posted by Copronymus at 12:31 PM on August 23, 2011


Alison Kosik, CNN: "Traders in the New York Stock Exchange felt the shaking and shouted to each other, 'Keep trading!'"
posted by zarq at 12:31 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


...wondering if the Washington Monument is now leaning to the left or to the right .... I'm thinking the latter...

Paging codacorolla.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:32 PM on August 23, 2011


jabberjaw: "The logarithmic scale doesn't really make much sense to me. I don't know why we can't have a linear scale."

Ok, here's a linear scale for you: This earthquake was a 1,000. The one in Japan was an 129837109246102938611290387192387. Does that make more sense?
posted by Grither at 12:32 PM on August 23, 2011 [17 favorites]


I was in school in the pacific northwest for the doorway advice myself. I was a little surprised to see the option hanging out on the survey so casually after our conversation here. I guess it is still a very common thing to do despite is deprecated status.
posted by safetyfork at 12:33 PM on August 23, 2011


Sitting on my bed checking mail (in NC) and the bed shook. I wondered if a really heavy truck was driving by. It continued to shake and then I wondered if maybe a tank was driving by instead.
posted by pinky at 12:33 PM on August 23, 2011


Westchester County NY here and felt it enough that I thought my son's bunk bed was going to come down on us.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:34 PM on August 23, 2011


its -- sorry that t fell out between the i and the s in all the commotion.
posted by safetyfork at 12:35 PM on August 23, 2011


What were you doing in your son's bunk bed?
posted by FreezBoy at 12:35 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


This guy says:
Evidently the quake occurred on a little known fault line outside of DC called "Bush's Fault".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 12:35 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The logarithmic scale doesn't really make much sense to me.

You can use this handy calculator from USGS to compare magnitudes. Example output:

A magnitude 9 earthquake is 1258.925 times bigger than a magnitude 5.9 earthquake on a seismogram, but is 44668.359 times stronger (energy release).

posted by IanMorr at 12:37 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


My missus said it freaked her the fuck out and she was two floors down from her sicth-floor apartment before it stopped. She thought she was having palpitations at first.
posted by Decani at 12:39 PM on August 23, 2011


New York earthquakes are better because of our thinner crust.
posted by mikepop at 12:39 PM on August 23, 2011 [13 favorites]


FAA apparently has shut down towers at several East Coast airports to check for structural integrity before resuming operations.
posted by dhartung at 12:40 PM on August 23, 2011


dhartung they keep revising the depth upward, now at 0.1km. At this rate it will soon be judged a mid-air earthquake.

Sheesh and now it's at 3.7 again. Stupid geologists! Agree already!

/is a stupid geologist who never agrees
posted by Big_B at 12:40 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Everyone in my office popped their heads from their cubicles.

Yep, my office too -- everyone on my side of the floor was thinking it was a strong wind or something, until one of the other admins got a call from his wife in the Bronx asking "uh, I just felt the house shake and the pots rattle, what happened?"

I only felt a few seconds' tremor.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:41 PM on August 23, 2011


What were you doing in your son's bunk bed?

No better place for that out of the way afternoon nap than his top bunk. Teens will never find me there. But he happened to come in to get something.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:42 PM on August 23, 2011


The first time I went to the East Coast (from California) one of my first thoughts was "OMG TOO MUCH BRICK. There better not be a damn earthquake here!" So I can see why y'all would freak out.

Glad to hear everyone was just rattled up!
posted by grapesaresour at 12:43 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also was napping when I felt my bed shake. My bird freaked out. I couldn't believe it. My mother's dog hid under the bed. Weird.
posted by Splunge at 12:45 PM on August 23, 2011


Corporate security (aka the Keystone Cops) are having a field day with this; much ado for such a small rumble. Of course, December 2012 is nearly upon us......
posted by caddis at 12:47 PM on August 23, 2011


JennyJupiter: Harrisonburg, VA-We had lots of shaking. My office building felt like it was swaying. At first we thought that it was construction/ demolition at a nearby building.

Ditto - I don't suppose you work near the old RMH building? That's what we originally thought it was, from the JMU library across the street. The library got evacuated, though I don't really know why. My house is about 15-20 miles closer to the epicenter, but it sounds like it was mild enough that I shouldn't have any problems when I get home (I hope).
posted by ashirys at 12:47 PM on August 23, 2011


2.8 aftershock.
posted by dhartung at 12:47 PM on August 23, 2011


I was driving west out of Richmond towards Mineral (near the epicenter) and felt a bit queasy (which I blamed on my dental appointment this morning) and was cursing the crappiness of greater Richmond roads and the stunning new levels of buttheadism drivers in Virginia have achieved this summer. In other words, I didn't even realize there was an earthquake until I started hearing the stories when I stopped for a drink about 15 miles west of Mineral. Neither did the lady behind the counter.

Nothing broke or fell at home (I was worried!); a few cracks in the wall/ceiling are a bit bigger. I did see two porches that seemed to be leaning backwards (with their buildings) near Mineral on 250 when I passed it, but I only registered it as unfortunate and not, OMG! Earth moving! until later. So far, it doesn't seem like there's any significant injuries in and around Mineral, just some crumbling of buildings, groceries shaken off shelves at the Food Lion, and no school for Louisa County School kids tomorrow.
posted by julen at 12:49 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just rereading my previous comment and kind of loving the fact that my reaction to a potential disaster/the unknown/death is WHEEEEEEEEE.
posted by functionequalsform at 12:50 PM on August 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is reminding me a little bit of the big blackout that effected a huge area of the Eastern/Central U.S. and that was also in August too. (August 14th, 2003).

That was much more fun than this though.
posted by Skygazer at 12:50 PM on August 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?

Here in Augusta, GA (about 200 miles north of Florida) local news reports are saying it was felt here although no one I have talked to personally felt anything (including my daughter who was at school on the Flowing Wells Rd. mentioned in one of the first comments). There is a guy in the comments claiming that this earthquake proves the earth is not billions of years old and evolution is a lie, so there is some entertainment value there.

The last earthquake I remember here was about 10 years ago and was in the very early morning; I remember waking up thinking I had heard some loud thunder or a train.
posted by TedW at 12:51 PM on August 23, 2011


Hey! Why did the post on the Blue get deleted?

Must've been one of MetaFilter's default settings.

b) FRACKING. WAKE UP SHEEPLE!...
posted by GuyZero

Not that far-fetched. Denver experienced a bunch in the 5s from pumping at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal in the 60s.
posted by jamjam at 12:51 PM on August 23, 2011


Just a theory:

Californians are being total asses about this (excepting myself) because since the day we first started school we have been hearing about "The Big One". The ONE where downtown comes tumbling and the malls fall over into heaps of concrete and glitter. So while we sit here tapping our nails waiting for an 8.7 to cream us, a 5.9 seems rather tame. Though, if you've ever been on top of a shallow 5.9, you know that it's not tame at all.
posted by Sophie1 at 12:52 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


2.8 aftershock.

I think i've felt a few aftershocks, but its hard to tell..
posted by empath at 12:54 PM on August 23, 2011


ashirys-yes, I'm in the Wine-Price building. We thought that they might have chosen today to knock down the old hospital. My house is about a mile from campus-hopefully there won't be any messes to clean up this evening.
posted by JennyJupiter at 12:55 PM on August 23, 2011


True -- if you live in an old, unreinforced adobe house. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house. You are safer under a table.

Ok, I find this advice unhelpful due to its lack of specificity. It's also biased toward the West Coast. Here's the thing. A lot - a real lot- of people on the East Coast don't live in "modern houses." A lot of people live in houses that may be - who knows? - the structural equivalent of adobe houses. A timber-framed colonial, a wood-frame1880 mill house with plaster and lath, a Georgian with a thick center chimney and stairwell - these may very well be stronger in places than modern houses. I just don't know. What's the right advice for a place with a mix of housing? How do you know if your particular home has some features that are structurally more likely to stand than others? It's not like if you don't live in an "old adobe," you must necessarily live in a "modern house." There's a big difference between a contemporary stick-and-drywall house roofed with tile and an older home, and that difference is easily visible in fires and hurricanes and other disasters. Why not earthquakes? I demand further study.

Getting under a table just seems, intuitively, like a terrible idea. You'll have all the problems of the earthquake, plus the problem of being potentially crushed by a tabletop and trapped in by its broken legs.

New York earthquakes are better because of our thinner crust.

Snicker.
posted by Miko at 12:56 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Kudos to all you Californians for... uh... being... in a place? A place that has earthquakes? Good show.
posted by Flunkie at 12:58 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


2.8 aftershock.

Back when I was a computer tech in the USGS in Colorado, I used to watch the seismographs, and wonder what the hell were those constant little tremors under 3.0. A seismologist told me they were mostly heavy trucks going by the measuring site, or blasting in mines up in the mountains just a few miles away. Then he demonstrated a 3.0 for me, by getting on his tiptoes, then plunking down his heels hard into the floor.
posted by charlie don't surf at 1:00 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


McNutt, director of USGS expressed a concern that the earlier quake will precede something more powerful: “What the concern is, of course, is that this is a foreshock. If it’s a foreshock, then the worse is yet to come.”

Keep Fear Alive - Yeah!
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:00 PM on August 23, 2011


Christ, this is getting silly. NYC Channel 9's "Skyfox" helicopter just showed a shot of people waiting for a bus, looking bored.

THANK YOU SKYFOX!!
posted by Skygazer at 1:01 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Miko, you're right. Marcia McNutt, director of the USGS, had this to say to the Washington Post.

"When something like this happens, remember what to do in the case of a seismic event. Duck, get under something sturdy like a desk or a doorway, get away from falling glass. Make sure that you are not in the way of falling objects like pictures, bookshelves, books, anything that’s not firmly connected to the wall."

So it would appear, for those of us living in 19th century brownstones, we can totally still stand in doorless doorways.
posted by brina at 1:02 PM on August 23, 2011


in NC) and the bed shook. I wondered if a really heavy truck was driving by. It continued to shake and then I wondered if maybe a tank was driving by instead.

Here in Raleigh my husband told me it was a helicopter. Ha! The glass-front bookcase in our bedroom was rattling like crazy and it seemed to go on and on. I started to think that there were squirrels frolicking in the attic again.

I moved here 11 years ago from California and this is the second earthquake we've had here. The first one I looked my native Carolinian husband in the eye and said, "We're having an earthquake." He had no idea.

The scariest one for me was Northridge 94. I had a small baby and we were all asleep. I was woken up by a terrible banging and clanging: the grandfather clock glass door was swinging open and crashing closed like it was possessed by demons and the weights inside were banging together. All the chandeliers were swaying and I had to run down the hallway to my daughter's room to get her out of her crib.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:04 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there somewhere to find out what the equivalent magnitude was at a certain place? I mean, I'm in Morristown, NJ, and it's by far the biggest one I've felt. But, for me, what was it? a 4? a 3? Anyone know how to find that out?
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 1:06 PM on August 23, 2011


Local Twitter and Facebook people freaked out ("local" being Toledo, OH), but I didn't feel it. Of course, I was walking down a busy street with heavy truck traffic, on the way to have a look at the strip mall six blocks from my house that burned down this morning. With all the truck traffic, I doubt I could have felt the difference.
posted by MissySedai at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2011


A timber-framed colonial, a wood-frame1880 mill house with plaster and lath,

This is basically our house - 3 floors, in San Francisco, built in the late 1890s. The last time we had a quake big enough to make the house sway (last year some time? I think it was a 4.8 or so), I got up and stood in the doorway between the living room and the kitchen. The cats slept through it.
posted by rtha at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Felt it here in Akron, Ohio. I thought it was someone moving heavy equipment in the office behind me.
posted by slogger at 1:08 PM on August 23, 2011


Yeah, Sophie1, you win this round. I was wrong.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:24 PM on August 23 [+] [!]


So it would appear, for those of us living in 19th century brownstones, we can totally still stand in doorless doorways.
posted by brina at 1:02 PM on August 23 [+] [!]


Indeed Navelgazer, it looks like we were both right. I raise my glass to both of us.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:13 PM on August 23, 2011


Quake damage in Tysons Corner, VA
posted by crunchland at 1:13 PM on August 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


Copying my comment from a different site:
(Also, I think it’s important to remember that everyone who just experienced a big-shaker is coming down off a pretty big jolt of adrenaline, while anyone who missed it but has been through a similar quake is either jealous or feeling a kind of adrenaline flashback. It’s natural to want to debrief and to get defensive.)
People who lived in California for any significant period of time get defensive when relatively minor earthquakes are treated like Big Deals (possibly because it reminds us how cavalier we are about our own quakes - how many of us simply aren't prepared for The Big One, because the possibility is frightening). People who experienced the quake are rightly defensive because to them, it is a unique experience.
posted by muddgirl at 1:14 PM on August 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


I am getting reports of a 50' blue suited man in glasses, older, emerging rom the Potomac... he just past Mount Vernon -stopping- he making is way to the Mall. Reports state he is bellowing bird shot and has a untrustworthy grin.
posted by clavdivs at 1:17 PM on August 23, 2011


Wow, crunchland, that footage is no joke. Very glad no one seems to have been in those cars.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:18 PM on August 23, 2011


Quake damage in Tysons Corner, VA

And it's actual damage, not a joke.
posted by cashman at 1:19 PM on August 23, 2011


muddgirl if I could favorite your comment x 100 I would.

I was no where near it, but freaked out enough to be struggling with the adrenaline kick.
posted by royalsong at 1:19 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Miko: "True -- if you live in an old, unreinforced adobe house. In modern houses, doorways are no stronger than any other part of the house. You are safer under a table.

Ok, I find this advice unhelpful due to its lack of specificity.
"

Drop! Cover! Hold on!

Protect Yourself During an Earthquake… Drop, Cover, and Hold On!
OFFICIAL RESCUE TEAMS from the U.S. and other countries who have searched for trapped people in collapsed structures around the world, as well as emergency managers, researchers, and school safety advocates, all agree that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes. Methods like standing in a doorway, running outside, and "triangle of life" method are considered dangerous and are not recommended.
FEMA Drop, Cover, and Hold Poster
posted by ob1quixote at 1:22 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


One person's private tragedy is another's cheap joke.

People who experienced the quake are rightly defensive because to them, it is a unique experience.

Also, it really is a Big Deal earthquake judged by the established norms for the East Coast.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:22 PM on August 23, 2011


Today's test for the upcoming 9/11 anniversary celebration was 100% successful.
posted by Ardiril at 1:23 PM on August 23, 2011


It's also a Big Deal because the geology of the Mid-Atlantic is significantly different than that of Southern California, making the impact stronger and felt wider.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:24 PM on August 23, 2011


I didn't even figure out it was an earthquake until after the rumbling had stopped and someone over across the highway asked on IM if we'd felt it too. Thankfully it wasn't worse. I don't think anyone would have wanted to reshelve the books the week before classes start!
posted by ashirys at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2011


ohhhh...too soon man...too soon ....
posted by Poet_Lariat at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2011


We got a THUD rroOoll ... THUD rroOoll ... here in Charleston SC. I thought someone had backed a moving van into the building, twice
posted by ElGuapo at 1:25 PM on August 23, 2011


> Drop, Cover, and Hold Poster

But it has to be a load-bearing poster.
posted by ChuqD at 1:26 PM on August 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


My favorite thing today was this on the local news: "Authorities are asking people to STOP dialing 911 to report the earthquake."

"Hello Emergency? I uh, I got a earthquake here....uhhuh... WELL SEND A GEOLOGIST THAT'S WHAT!"
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:28 PM on August 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


I would shit myself if i had been on that bridge during an earthquake. I once refused to drive over that bridge during a thunderstorm, even.
posted by empath at 3:21 PM on August 23 [+] [!]


I hate driving over it in clear weather. We were through there last week and they were working on it, I wonder if any workers were on it today?
posted by SuzySmith at 1:28 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm loving the boston.com coverage:

Firefighters raced to 111 Devonshire St. in the downtown area to investigate reports that the building had started to lean after the tremor. But Deputy Fire Chief Richard DiBenedetto said that, according to the building manager and city inspectors, the building always looked that way.
posted by cranberry_nut at 1:29 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Today's test for the upcoming 9/11 anniversary celebration was 100% successful.


No no no no. Don't.

After I went WHEEEE and got my brain back online, I was for a moment viscerally spooked that something Very Large and Very Nearby had just exploded in midtown Manhattan.

It wasn't especially funny. I mean, the WHEEEEE was funny, but the subsequent split second of fear was not.

Yuck.
posted by functionequalsform at 1:30 PM on August 23, 2011


I have a bit of nausea, but since I didn't feel this earthquake, I will assume it was the tacos.
posted by terrapin at 1:30 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile my brick townhouse in Alexandria was shaking like a leaf on a tree which were also shaking. Also there was a series of very loud booms. My girl and I held hands and waited for the end. It subsided instead of intensified, and we went onto the porch and drank sprites instead of dying, but in a way I learned what it would be like to be hit by a nuke today.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:30 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


A friend was by the blue water bridge when the area that 5.0/ near Ottawa last year. said the bridge swayed slightly, I think it was the ground shaking making an optical illusion of sorts. That would be scary.
we never have had any thing stronger then 4.9/5.0 epicenter in Michigan but they are felt on the ground.
posted by clavdivs at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2011


Yes, I am being obstinate, but I'm still skeptical.

OFFICIAL RESCUE TEAMS from the U.S. and other countries who have searched for trapped people in collapsed structures around the world, as well as emergency managers, researchers, and school safety advocates, all agree that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is the appropriate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.

Could this be because people who remained in doorways did not get trapped and thus did not have to be rescued from within the building?

If there is no furniture nearby, you can still reduce the chance of injury from falling objects by getting down next to an interior wall and covering your head and neck with your arms (exterior walls are more likely to collapse and have windows that may break).

This strikes me as fundamentally not that different from crouching in a door frame.

injuries and deaths caused by earthquakes over the last several decades show that you are much more likely to be injured by falling or flying objects (TVs, lamps, glass, bookcases, etc.) than to die in a collapsed building.

This seems like another good reason to be in a doorway, where there are no overhead objects, and less wall to fall on you.

I just wonder what the data really is. I know you have to simplify instructions for the people, but I would honestly feel a lot safer in an oak-framed doorway than under a table in a room with shelves and other stuff around the table.
posted by Miko at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2011


Also, it really is a Big Deal earthquake judged by the established norms for the East Coast.

Well, as I said it is a unique experience, but in the scale of all East Coast natural disasters it's done relatively little damage (I am not trying to minimize what damage it has done, but SOME damage is inevitable). So it is a Big Deal in the way that, say, tornadoes are a Big Deal in the Bay Area. It's a Big Deal because we have the internet and we get to talk about it with other people who experienced it.
posted by muddgirl at 1:31 PM on August 23, 2011


The roof on the town hall in Mineral, VA collapsed. There is a wall down at a Wal-Mart in the Fredericksburg, VA area.

Barns and other buildings are down in Louisa with some animals injured.
posted by SuzySmith at 1:32 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's true, it hasn't been that damaging - we're getting over it. It's just that it's so unusual for us. There's a huge novelty factor. And here in MA, to have this in the same year we had a tornado that killed people? It's not the usual kind of event we worry about and plan for.
posted by Miko at 1:33 PM on August 23, 2011


Glad everybody's ok and I hope it stays that way. 5.9 doesn't seem all that minimal to me, especially with old buildings.
posted by Space Kitty at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nothing in Milwaukee, and I'm on the 7th floor (though this building is pretty solid).
posted by desjardins at 1:36 PM on August 23, 2011


I have to say, since someone brought it up, that I thought earlier how glad I was that this didn't happen in two weeks or so (closer to the anniversary of 9/11) -- because, while it seems like many people online thought 'oh it was such and such construction in our neighborhood' while a few may have gone to 'another attack', I'm sure if it was closer to that date, with all of the media mentions and the like, it would have really freaked a lot of people out even more with some really unpleasant memories.

And I'm truly really, really glad that didn't have to happen.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:36 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would honestly feel a lot safer in an oak-framed doorway than under a table in a room with shelves and other stuff around the table.

If you have a nice sturdy desk, dining room table or coffee table, it is actually going to protect you from falling glass from windows and tchotchkes also lamps and other things that won't break the table. As for your house falling around you, it will allow some cushion and breathing room. Though you might be injured, you might not be crushed as you would if your north-south facing doorway was hit with an east-west shaking quake.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:36 PM on August 23, 2011


I look at the reactions to earthquakes from my fellow Californians as pretty much the same as the reactions from folks in the upper Midwest or New England to very light snowfall paralyzing southern or southwestern cities. "What, your city shut down for three inches of snow? WE don't even notice anything less than seventeen feet! Pansies!".
posted by Justinian at 1:36 PM on August 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Indeed Justinian. In L.A. this winter we received "snow flurries", or whatever the hell my NY bred husband said they were. I was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT and he was like, "whatever woman, stop breathing on the glass."
posted by Sophie1 at 1:39 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Only in NYC ...

Quake Interrupts Manhattan For A New York Minute
" .... Two men dressed in Sesame Street costumes in Times Square didn’t feel it, either.

'I didn’t feel it, but I heard someone talking about it,' Elmo said.

Cookie Monster had no comment."
posted by ericb at 1:40 PM on August 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


Yeah, my company's store in Tyson's Corner reportedly has considerable damage.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:40 PM on August 23, 2011


This seems like another good reason to be in a doorway, where there are no overhead objects, and less wall to fall on you.

If you are crouching in a door frame, you have three sides exposed - your front, your back, and even your top. Your sides are protected by maybe 4 inches of wall. Anything falling towards you at an angle will almost certainly hit you.

If you are under a table, anything falling from above will be deflected. If it is a desk, you may only have one side exposed to sliding objects.

If the earthquake has a significant side-to-side component, it may be difficult to stay inside a door frame and you may get tossed around. Under a desk, you can brace yourself and move with the desk. Under at sturdy table, you can hold onto the legs.

If the choice is between a folding table under a window, and a doorframe, I pick the doorframe. If I'm at work, I pick my desk.

It's not the usual kind of event we worry about and plan for.

Absolutely worry and plan for a big earthquake. If this is the impetus to get people lobbying for safer building codes (or even, as FEMA reccommends, earthquake-safety overhauls), then kudos. Earthquakes may be uncommon on the east coast, but a big quake can really strike anywhere.
posted by muddgirl at 1:41 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I thought Mineral sounded familiar. I drove through there with my mobile radiochemistry laboratory whenever we did confirmatory measurements inspections on the North Anna environmental monitoring laboratory. There's a ferry near there that I loved to cross because with my inventory of radioactive standards, no civilian agency or business could afford the permits.

Looking at the map now, that is about as dead center a hit on a nuclear plant as anyone is likely to see for centuries, and I just said the same thing about the Japan quake.
posted by Ardiril at 1:43 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


If there is no furniture nearby, you can still reduce the chance of injury from falling objects by getting down next to an interior wall and covering your head and neck with your arms (exterior walls are more likely to collapse and have windows that may break).

This strikes me as fundamentally not that different from crouching in a door frame.


Well, falling/flying stuff can hit you from either side of a door frame. If the wall you're crouching next to is going to come down, most likely the doorway in it is going to come down too. The big thing is standing- if you're standing, you can get knocked down and hurt that way.

If you happen to know that your oak-framed doorway is in a structural wall you *may* be safer there if nothing falls onto you. All other things being equal, there's less likelihood of that if you're crouched down next to the structural wall that the doorway is in.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:46 PM on August 23, 2011


Did not feel it in southern RI, but I was doing a lot of running around and may have just missed it.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:47 PM on August 23, 2011


Nah, change that. Google Maps still hasn't located the epicenter.
posted by Ardiril at 1:47 PM on August 23, 2011


If this is the impetus to get people lobbying for safer building codes (or even, as FEMA reccommends, earthquake-safety overhauls), then kudos.

New building codes are really protective now, and there are some more recent provisions in home inspection in some of the states, but there's nothing to require old buildings to be brought up to code unless you are doing a major upgrade or structural change and permitting can be tied to that. I think no matter how you slice it, we're always going to have a lot of older buildings here.
posted by Miko at 1:50 PM on August 23, 2011


*pounds on northern ceiling*

be quiet, my stories are on!

*continues drinking mint julep*
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:51 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did not feel it in Downeast Maine. But we have logging trucks driving by all the time. We did have a 1.2 on Saturday tho' (did not feel that either).

Mini earthquakes in May in this region, caused by the last ice age.

Probably more danger from Nor'easters and snowstorms than anything else.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 1:55 PM on August 23, 2011


Actual coordinates
posted by Ardiril at 1:55 PM on August 23, 2011


We had one or two a week of these in Bali. 5.x earthquakes just aren't that big a deal, once you get used to them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:56 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Germanna Community College is closed due to building damage.

The Nice bridge is being inspected for damage (per my earlier post.)

(yes, most of these posts are more for VA area people but, I know there are quite a few of us.)
posted by SuzySmith at 1:57 PM on August 23, 2011


New building codes are really protective now, and there are some more recent provisions in home inspection in some of the states, but there's nothing to require old buildings to be brought up to code unless you are doing a major upgrade or structural change and permitting can be tied to that.

My city barely even does building inspections. I had a new roof put on the garage and really tried to do everything legally, getting a licensed contractor and paying for all of the permits. When it was done, the city inspector literally inspected the thing over the phone. He called my wife and asked if the job was completed, she asked when he was coming out to inspect it and he replied that they didn't have enough manpower to physically inspect every job.
posted by octothorpe at 1:59 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Bloom Grocery store in Fredericksburg, VA at Lee's Hill has collapsed and their is a gas leak in the area.
posted by SuzySmith at 2:00 PM on August 23, 2011


FEMA summarizes seizmic retrofitting. I heard that, In California, buildings which are not retrofitted are required to display a sign indicating that they are not earthquake-safe, but that might be a local thing rather than a state-wide thing.
posted by muddgirl at 2:03 PM on August 23, 2011


Earthquake Safety Do's and Don't's with John Ritter: 1, 2, and 3. Starts slow, gets slapstick, then how-to.
posted by dhartung at 2:06 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


DC Earthquake Devastation. OMG ONOZ

On a more serious note...
Earthquake history for NYC.

Did you feel it?
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program form.

New York City Is Overdue For Large Earthquake: Seismologist

Nuclear Power Reactors Near New York City, and Their Earthquake Vulnerability
. Indian Point nuclear reactor was built to withstand an earthquake of 6.1 on the Richter scale.

DutchSinse's vid on the 5.9 in Virginia.

Here in Hell's Kitchen was sitting on the bed with Sophie, my neighbor's Puggle that I babysit, waiting for the fumigator to come and do the final bedbug extermination. The bed was rolling. The building was rolling. Quite an enjoyable rolling/swaying, mixed with wonder/disbelief, except for a momentary flash of fear. About 10 seconds. It was pretty strong.
posted by nickyskye at 2:10 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Interesting site reporting earthquakes worldwide. [table] [map]
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:10 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Was in my 6th flr office near White Flint metro (Rockville, MD) when it hit. It felt like slow build to a pretty significant rumble that took objects off my shelves and popped out a ceiling tile, but not much else. OPM gave federal workers liberal leave & unscheduled telework about an hour after, then changed it around 3.45p to early dismissal. It's not yet known what tomorrow's operating status for the federal government will be. Metro trains continue to run at 15mph max.
posted by Westringia F. at 2:13 PM on August 23, 2011


How rare is an East Coast earthquake?

Photos.

Brings on more thoughts about what the people of Japan have been struggling with so arduously this year.
posted by nickyskye at 2:15 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Swaying buildings
posted by Ardiril at 2:15 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was at home for lunch, in my rickety 100-year-old row house. Crazy--I thought the house was falling down. I couldn't contact anyone back at the office on Capitol Hill, so I went back to work, only to find out we'd been evacuated and sent home.

Bonus was that a friend needed a ride home, and I ended up with a mannequin for this.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:17 PM on August 23, 2011


And for those people in NC, there's a hurricane on its way also. Stay safe, people.

This is some week.

This is my first earthquake. I felt it in my car, about to pull into traffic while leaving work (I get off work in the early afternoon, natch.) Didn't realize what I'd felt till later.

Meanwhile my dad was sitting in his den and noticed his cd cases rattling, etc. He came out and told my mom they'd had an earthquake. Mom started worrying he was having effects from his medications. Heh.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:17 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Brings on more thoughts about what the people of Japan have been struggling with so arduously this year.

Yeah, even this really, really minor quake makes me appreciate how unnerving it is to have the building you're in swaying. I guess it's something you don't think about until it happens. I hope I never experience anything stronger.
posted by codacorolla at 2:19 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


For a point of reference, the cloud near the center of that video is actually stationary.
posted by Ardiril at 2:22 PM on August 23, 2011


My Mac was wobbling on its G5 Skate, but I didn't notice anything else.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:22 PM on August 23, 2011


hipster cali
stolen shamelessly from reddit
posted by inigo2 at 2:24 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Swaying buildings.

Holy shit. Whoa. Reminded me of Tokyo this March. Wait just a second. Those *are* the swaying buildings in Tokyo this March, not NYC today.

One of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded on the East Coast

Two nuclear reactors at the North Anna Power Station, in the same county as the epicenter, were automatically taken off line by safety systems, said Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
posted by nickyskye at 2:24 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Dutchess County Fair did end up shutting its rides down, while a gas main was damaged in Fishkill.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:25 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was flammed.
posted by Ardiril at 2:26 PM on August 23, 2011


An earthquake hit Manhattan this afternoon. Luckily, Donald Trump’s hair didn’t move.

heh
posted by nickyskye at 2:29 PM on August 23, 2011


Hah! Roger Hannah is still doing public affairs in Region II? He'd shit if he read what I wrote above.
posted by Ardiril at 2:30 PM on August 23, 2011


hipster cali
stolen shamelessly from reddit


I was going to make a joke about Brooklyn earthquakes being more underground, but tensions felt too high in the thread at the time for more shit stirring, even as a joke.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:32 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


On the second level of our house here in Toronto there was definite movement. Watched the clothes in our closet gently swaying back and forth for about 20 seconds thinking "Huh. What the hell is my neighbour up to?". Our kitty was highly unimpressed and meowed like mad.
posted by Go Banana at 2:32 PM on August 23, 2011


I was in Toronto too, in Robarts, screaming like Lieutenant Dan in the hurricane.
posted by Beardman at 2:34 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there a word for the dizzy, vertiginous, slightly nauseated feeling that the world is still swaying hours after a quake? I keep popping my ear drums like on a plane, but I can't shake it.
posted by steef at 2:36 PM on August 23, 2011


I've felt that after spending a day on a boat, but after a 10 second earthquake?
posted by crunchland at 2:39 PM on August 23, 2011


Yeah steef, after my first really big quake, I felt like I was levitating. I'd walk around and feel like I was 2 inches off the ground. It took a day or two to get over that.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:45 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


steef, I don't think there's an earthquake-specific name for it - I'd just call it motion sickness - but it happened to me when I experienced my first earthquake while living in California. Within an hour or so after the 2003 San Simeon quake struck, I found myself feeling nauseated and disoriented. My California-born co-workers laughed at my East Coast-born self. I had to go lie down on the breakroom couch, and it took a couple hours to pass.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:48 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I look at the reactions to earthquakes from my fellow Californians as pretty much the same as the reactions from folks in the upper Midwest or New England to very light snowfall paralyzing southern or southwestern cities. "What, your city shut down for three inches of snow? WE don't even notice anything less than seventeen feet! Pansies!".

That's what I was thinking reading through the posts.

I would be more terrified of standing on top of a shallow 2.0 in the east coast than in LA, very much because there is brick and there is density and there is hard rock. A 5.8 is nothing to sneer at, even in Southern California (don't believe those who say otherwise).

That said, it's been quite some time since the last noticeable one, and that makes me nervous. I'd rather suffer through 4s and lower 5s on a regular basis to avoid upper 5s and above, especially those that cross into 6. You hit 6, you'll more than likely have a story to tell over drinks.
posted by linux at 2:52 PM on August 23, 2011


"... Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?"
posted by bonehead at 3:14 PM on August 23

Here at the farthest west point of the East Coast in Northern Florida, some ice cubes rolled over in my iced tea, about the time people were getting excited in Washington. So, there's that, but then again, ice cubes roll over on their own around here, sometimes, regardless of what's going on in Washington.
posted by paulsc at 2:53 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to USGS coordinates and Google Maps, the epicenter is about 100 yards behind this house.
posted by Ardiril at 2:55 PM on August 23, 2011


Is there a word for the dizzy, vertiginous, slightly nauseated feeling that the world is still swaying hours after a quake?

Coming down from the adrenalin.

Sometimes the nausea is because you actually felt the ground twist beneath you. In high school I remember staring down the side walk as a friend approached me. Behind her I saw the ground rippling like when you snap a blanket. I cried out, she looked behind and literally jumped over the wave as it passed her. I did the same seconds later and we stared at each other as the tinier ripples bobbed us about.

Another time I was on the phone with a friend and as I stared at the living room wall it literally waved. I felt like I was on a tiny ship and made a sickly grunt. My friend asked what was wrong but before he could finish he made the same sickly grunt. He was a few miles south of me and it just reached him.

I hate those rolling quakes. Those really get you dizzy.
posted by linux at 2:56 PM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I was at work, two stories beneath the US Capitol when this happened.

My office is specifically located underneath the plaza in front of the capitol, so the building shakes and rattles from time to time if a truck passes overhead, or if they're doing work on the plaza.

I was having a conversation with a coworker in the hallway as we felt the first rumble, followed by a few more. I think one of us made a "damn trucks" comment. As the rumbling got louder, a few things rushed through my mind "Oh god. We've been hit by the plane"; "Oh god. The truck was too big, and now the building's collapsing" "Oh god. This thing was built by the lowest bidder and isn't actually supposed to rattle ever." followed by one of my coworkers making a b-line for the emergency exit. Snapped out of my daydreaming, I followed him through the big red "Emergency Exit" door that I've always wanted to use (it's a *much* shorter route out of the building).

When we emerged into the public-facing part of the visitors center, we encountered a cop who was calmly directing people toward the doors....just as a dozen other cops burst into the room shouting "RUN! RUN! RUN! As far away from the building possible!"

I think that's where the adrenaline rush kicked in.

In any event, by the time I got across the street and started making my way to the checkpoint, I was certainly relieved to learn that it was an earthquake, and not a terrorist attack or building collapse.

There were two Senators in town for a Pro Forma session. They asked our boss if they could just do the Pro Forma in the street, which we were going to film and stream via somebody's iPhone (no, really). Evidently, the Sargent at Arms didn't like this, wanted to practice for an 'actual' emergency, and a bunch of my coworkers were whisked away to a nearby undisclosed location, where the Pro Forma actually took place. (Of course, at no point did anybody consider having a serious discussion about why we continue the archaic and wasteful practice of Pro Forma meetings)

Eventually, we got sent home. I got a message that the Capitol finally reopened for people to retrieve things from their desks around 5PM, although the other legislative buildings remain closed (with my bike inside, grumble). No obvious signs of damage along the way home, and my house appears to be completely intact. Huzzah!

Oh, and the traffic is NUTS. Thank God for Capital Bikeshare. Metro's still running, albeit very slowly. Nobody's being "stranded" tonight, and there are no major closures that I know of. Just delays.
posted by schmod at 2:57 PM on August 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


This is the second earthquake I've felt - the first one was the San Simeon one in California that made me queasy as I said above.

I now live about half an hour south of Pittsburgh. I have some longstanding problems with the world occasionally seeming to pitch and yaw around me because of a chronic illness, so when that started up this afternoon, I thought, "Oh, brain, will you please -" and then I realized the house was crackling all over. At the same moment, el_lupino stood up in the next room and said, "Are we...?" and I said, "Yes, I think I we're having an earthquake." I felt about ten seconds of motion, the house kept up the noise for about ten seconds more, and that was it.

No queasiness this time, thankfully. I was already lying down when it happened - I wonder if that helped, or if it was just that it was less severe.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:57 PM on August 23, 2011


"Hey, it was something for which I would need a television to know." - Yo, NC!
posted by Ardiril at 3:08 PM on August 23, 2011


Ardiril, I still don't get it!
posted by Stewriffic at 3:10 PM on August 23, 2011


You aren't the first to say that.
posted by Ardiril at 3:18 PM on August 23, 2011


Image shows quake happening in real time.
posted by nickyskye at 3:28 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work in a museum storage facility about a half hour from downtown Washington, D.C. When the quake hit I was on the first floor of one of the store rooms. This store room is the size of a football field, 3 floors, and the store room has hundreds of steel storage cabinets stacked 2 high and not anchored particularly besides by their weight and the weight of their contents. These are what many of the cabinets look like. It was no joke to have the whole building shake and sway from side to side while listening to hundreds of these steel cabinets swaying and rattling and banging into each other. There were structural cracks in the building and hunks and bits of concrete fell, as well as sprinkler system pipes leaking in one of the other store rooms, from what I was told. Once the engineers say it is ok for staff to go back in the building, we are going to have to look inside every one of the cabinets to see if any of the artifacts were damaged. Oh joy.

On the other hand, my apartment building, a 1930's brick building in Virginia (and so a bit closer to the quake than where I work), seems solid as a rock, and the only things I noticed that moved were a couple of crooked pictures on the wall and and the wireless mouse for my laptop, which rolled around to the edge of the slightly slanted table it is on.
posted by gudrun at 3:29 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


at no point did anybody consider having a serious discussion about why we continue the archaic and wasteful practice of Pro Forma meetings

To prevent recess appointments, no? Having worked on the Hill during the Bush administration, I can see the value of that. Hugs to Hill folks - those evacuations are scary when you know they're the real thing but you're not sure what they're for.
posted by naoko at 3:30 PM on August 23, 2011


NickySkye: Dutchsinse video.

Hey Nicky, That video outlining the swarm of earthquakes over the last couple of weeks taking place along the U line of the old subtectonic plate that arcs south from Colorado, through Virginia and north into the Northeast.
posted by Skygazer at 3:37 PM on August 23, 2011


Also, while we're talking politics, my favorite comment from Facebook so far:

"As the epicenter was in Virginia's 7th Congressional District, people are calling that seismic zone 'Eric Cantor's Fault.'"

Cantor supported defunding USGS, by the way.
posted by naoko at 3:37 PM on August 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've felt that after spending a day on a boat, but after a 10 second earthquake?

crunchland, what can I say? I'm a cheap earthquake date. It was my first time and she promised to be gentle but she seriously "shook my place of work" (if you know what I mean) and I went all: "Woo hoo!" But then after I felt like I wanted to throw up.

Just like that other time.
posted by steef at 3:56 PM on August 23, 2011


According to this AskMe, you just need more lube. Much, much more lube.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:58 PM on August 23, 2011


So I've experienced two earthquakes. One in California in the Summer of '98, and this one. The one in LA was probably around a 4 and yeah, it's like a speedbump out there. Or more closely, it was like the dining patio I was on was suddenly driving over a block or two of pothole-covered lanes. (and until a few minutes ago I'd almost completely forgotten about it.)

This one was different. Obviously a 5.8 or 5.9 is much stronger than a (presumed) 4, but I think we're learning that the Richter scale is only so useful when the geology of the two places is so different. I was in my English Basement about 2 blocks from DC in Takoma Park. I was reaching for a plate when I heard a buzzing and felt the plates start buzzing along with it. It was like an appliance had just turned on or something but I live alone and have no AC, so I was looking around confused as the buzzing then switched to a rumbling like you get in NYC if your apartment is built over a subway line.

Which was familiar enough to set my mind at ease for a split second before I realized that, no, my suburban hobbit hole is not built over a subway line, and what the hell is going on? And by then a very LOUD rumbling was approaching like a bunch of semi trucks barreling down the hill towards me, and by the time it hit the place was shaking and lurching like mad for about 30 or 45 seconds as it continued on. It was not like driving over a bumpy road. It was like being in an airplane in bad turbulence.

I didn't feel nausea or dizziness afterwards, but it did trigger a sort of 9-11 PTSD all day, where I was tense and compulsively calling everyone I could think of. Another friend in the area who has lived through that as well was feeling the same way, she says.

Not too much damage, though one friend had her kitchen collapse and one of her cats is missing. Truth be told, it was scary. Everyone's going to be out drinking tonight, for sure, bu at the time it was frightening. (I also live right next to a school and a park, so all of the children's screams didn't help matters.)
posted by Navelgazer at 3:58 PM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


a dozen other cops burst into the room shouting "RUN! RUN! RUN! As far away from the building possible!"

Nice to know now that they are not going to be your source of calm control in an emergency.

I was thinking on my way home, another thing that makes people in BosWash buzz about this is just the pure PTSD. Even 10 years after 9/11, people tend to flash back to that day and think "How bad is this/how bad is this gonna get?"
posted by Miko at 3:58 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Heh, our 9/11 PTSD comments were posted simultaneously, Navelgazer.
posted by Miko at 4:00 PM on August 23, 2011


Miko: exactly.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:01 PM on August 23, 2011


> Anyone from Maine or Northern Florida feel it?

My mom felt it in Vermont.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:05 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was on the third story of a four story office building in Schaumburg, IL, when the quake rolled through. I was sitting down, and the first wave made me think I had gone dizzy for a moment. Then there were two more like that, and the building was creaking. It kept pitching and shifting for a minute or two. A lady standing next to me didn't feel it at all, until I traded places with her and she could feel it once she was sitting.

The weirdest, most unsettling thing was that it felt very much like how it feels when you are on a bridge and a truck goes by. Except instead of that up and down heave, this was a side to side heave.
posted by gjc at 4:06 PM on August 23, 2011


I was in my office on the 17th floor in Rosslyn (Arlington, VA). The building shook so bad that I hid under my desk for a little while, because I thought the ceiling lights might fall down. My office door was swaying to and fro, a ceiling tile feel down in the conference room (didn't notice that until later), and the glass door to the hallway was visibly trembling. It was actually really scary. I've been in earthquakes before, but this one seemed like it took a long time to finish.

When it first started, I thought it might have to do with the blasting for the new Metro entrance nearby. Then, of course, my mind went to the possibility of something really bad happening (I saw the Pentagon burn from the same office). But as it went on for what seemed a long time, it became obvious that it was an earthquake. It took a minute or two to confirm afterwards (via friends in D.C. on Twitter) that yes it really was an earthquake. Lots of offices in Rosslyn were evacuated right away, and people were milling around on the streets below my window for at least an hour afterwards. We didn't end up evacuating, although other offices on our floor did.

An earthquake is just not something you expect to happen here, which accounts for how scared and panicked people became, I think. The evacuations were a bit over the top, really, but I gather from friends in the government that some of them have mandatory evacuations for certain situations, including earthquakes.
posted by gemmy at 4:08 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Relaxation, communication, lubrication. Right. Same as hurricanes. Check. Thanks.
posted by steef at 4:10 PM on August 23, 2011


RICHMOND, VA? Anyone?

Just got in, just heard. News says some old homes in the city have collapsed. I can't get my fokks on the phone. Can anyone tell me how bad it is?
posted by likeso at 4:11 PM on August 23, 2011


fokks = folks, of course. I'm sure everything's fine, but would really appreciate some reliable news. Theirs is an "old home".
posted by likeso at 4:13 PM on August 23, 2011


> Hey Nicky, That video outlining the swarm of earthquakes over the last couple of weeks taking place along the U line of the old subtectonic plate that arcs south from Colorado, through Virginia and north into the Northeast.

Hi Skygazer, did you mean to say something? I didn't understand your comment.
posted by nickyskye at 4:13 PM on August 23, 2011


Okay, so glad to know I'm not the only one feeling like the other shoe is going to drop any moment now. A friend was doing some work at Catholic University, and apparently as he was trying to leave the guards told him everyone had to stay inside. He politely refused.
Apparently the CU guards didn't get the memo on proper earthquake policy.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:14 PM on August 23, 2011


That said, it's been quite some time since the last noticeable one, and that makes me nervous.

Yep. The first half dozen years I lived out here in Los Angeles there were occasionally quite noticeable earthquakes. Nothing serious but certainly there was the shake now and again. The last half dozen years I've felt almost nothing. I can't remember the last one I've felt.

I think the earth is saving up. No sir, I don't like it.
posted by Justinian at 4:16 PM on August 23, 2011


This California my-dick-tectonic-plate-is-bigger-than-yours stuff is everywhere right now

Not many people know this, but Californians actually have tectonic dicks. You should see their subduction techniques.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:22 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm in Richmond, likeso, and have been checking out the news sites. Everything I've seen has said no significant damage and there's been no mention of collapsed homes.
posted by bluesapphires at 4:23 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


That video outlining the swarm of earthquakes over the last couple of weeks taking place along the U line of the old subtectonic plate that arcs south from Colorado, through Virginia and north into the Northeast.

Oops, distracted by the news. What I meant to point out is that the individual in that video (a seismologist?), is pointing out that there's an uptick in earthquakes especially along that U line that arcs through the U.S., and that he foresees a new period of considerable increase in earthquake activity and that there' might indeed be a huge earthquake soon.

Is he being alarmist or being prudent? He suggests at least a month worth of food, water purification tablets, emergency transportation and mapping and escape route away from a city that does not rely on bridges.
posted by Skygazer at 4:33 PM on August 23, 2011


I was on the 10th floor of a building that occasionally vibrates a little bit if a heavy truck goes by, so it took me a moment to realize what was going on, another moment to debate whether a non-structural doorway or the flimsy desk attached to my flimsy cubicle wall would be better shelter, and another to decide that the doorway at least was well away from the six-foot unsecured metal bookcases surrounding me at my desk. It was intense enough and lasted long enough that I had plenty of time to think, repeatedly, "Oh, shit, I am on the top floor of a building that was not built for this. What do I do if it gets worse?"

Of course, within minutes of the end of the quake, I was outside with the rest of my colleagues, milling around, tracking #earthquake on Twitter, and cracking wise on Facebook, but honestly, I'm still a little bit unsettled by the reminder of just how unprepared we are to deal with an earthquake here. But getting a post-quake shake (vanilla) at the Diner at an hour when I'd ordinarily be stuck at my desk went a long way toward making me feel better.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:33 PM on August 23, 2011


Not many people know this, but Californians actually have tectonic dicks. You should see their subduction techniques.

Tectonic Dicks were cool before they signed to a major. I still have their S/T 7-inch Japanese import on green vinyl.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:38 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you, bluesapphires! Pictures and news on the WTVR site were worrying... I'm sure I'll be able to get through to them soon.
posted by likeso at 4:44 PM on August 23, 2011


Just got in, just heard. News says some old homes in the city have collapsed. I can't get my fokks on the phone. Can anyone tell me how bad it is?

I'm sitting in downtown richmond right now. You'd never know there was an earthquake.
posted by empath at 4:45 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I meant to point out is that the individual in that video (a seismologist?)

Conspiracy nut.
posted by empath at 4:48 PM on August 23, 2011


Likeso, I saw those and I'm pretty sure they're in Mineral, VA and Louisa County. They (unsurprisingly) did have some damage.
posted by bluesapphires at 4:50 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I too was napping, and I had one of those jerky, falling dreams, and then I woke up to my kid on the phone saying "Did you feel it?!" and for a sec I was like, damn kid, get off my cloud.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:55 PM on August 23, 2011


Whew, thank you too, empath. I'm a tad annoyed at myself for misreading. Was worrying. Waiting to get folks on the phone in a much more relaxed state of mind now thanks to you and bluesapphires. :)
posted by likeso at 4:55 PM on August 23, 2011


Here's Ravens receiver Torrey Smith taping an interview at the moment the earthquake hits.
posted by jocelmeow at 4:58 PM on August 23, 2011


In the afternoon a guy came into my store, (East Village/Union Square area) and as we were helping him said "How about that earthquake, huh?" I looked at him like "Are you high?" but then he started telling me about seeing people put out of office buildings and whatnot, and we checked the internet and loa nd behold...

My boss heard all this and said "Oh God, my daughter called me and said that the apartment was shaking and that the chandelier was swinging and I thought it was her just being a kid kidding around!" (he lives on the Upper West Side). I felt nothing of this quake, myself. I called pips after work and she says he felt it out in Queens. Our octogenarian landlady dowstairs felt nothing.

(also, one of my first thoughts upon hearing this was...Imagine if you were having sex at that exact moment. "Did the earth move for you baby?" "As a matter of fact..."
posted by jonmc at 5:03 PM on August 23, 2011


Aftershock!
posted by empath at 5:05 PM on August 23, 2011


Was there just an aftershock (8:05 pm in VA)?
posted by littlesq at 5:08 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yep, i definitely felt it. It went on for an uncomfortably long time, but not as severe as the quake earlier-- maybe a 3ish?
posted by empath at 5:09 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm in Fairfax, VA (near DC) and I swore that I could feel some shaking. Good to know that I am not the only one who just felt it.
posted by littlesq at 5:11 PM on August 23, 2011


Was there just an aftershock (8:05 pm in VA)

Yep I'm on the phone w/ someone in Charlottesville
posted by grobstein at 5:12 PM on August 23, 2011


I didn't feel an aftershock just outside of DC. How long would that take to travel?
posted by codacorolla at 5:12 PM on August 23, 2011


USGS map of the area, constantly updated. Yes, there was just an aftershock.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:13 PM on August 23, 2011


Wow, a 4.2!
posted by empath at 5:14 PM on August 23, 2011


I just felt the aftershock west of Charlottesville. Very mild and ripply, and only a little louder than a truck.
posted by julen at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2011


Yes, definitely an aftershock.
posted by gemmy at 5:16 PM on August 23, 2011


Didn't feel this one, a mile east of the Capitol.
posted by MrMoonPie at 5:18 PM on August 23, 2011


I didn't feel the aftershock either (in the close-in MD suburbs). Is this a function of magnitude or something else? (As a point of comparison, my husband definitely felt this afternoon's quake out in Columbia, which is way further out than we live.)
posted by devinemissk at 5:19 PM on August 23, 2011


The first earthquake you feel is a pretty dramatic experience. Still, having just woken up to find everyone sharing stories and dramatic videos of three or four cars crushed by shoddy masonry, and all I can think of is

5.8 is what we call an aftershock.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:19 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm in Richmond and we felt the aftershock very clearly. I'm finding them kinda fun, so long as there isn't any damage.
posted by Lame_username at 5:23 PM on August 23, 2011


Oh good. It wasn't just me. I couldn't tell if it was an aftershock or my a/c since my dogs didn't react. I think I'll be rather paranoid about this for the next week. :o\
posted by bluesapphires at 5:25 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm in Fairfax, VA (near DC) and I swore that I could feel some shaking. Good to know that I am not the only one who just felt it.

In Fairfax also but did not feel it.
posted by apartment dweller at 5:26 PM on August 23, 2011


> Conspiracy nut.

Yes, That is a flaw. However, he makes brilliant earthquake update videos. Better than any I've seen on the web. They are timely, accurate, beautifully high-tech, excellent visually and science based. The link I posted was specifically regarding the 5.9 earthquake today.

His advice on having a Go Bag is nothing the US government doesn't also advise.
posted by nickyskye at 5:27 PM on August 23, 2011


Definitely felt the first quake in Frederick, MD - home sick today, sprawled across the bed, fevered, had to call my husband and say "would you think I was crazy if I said I just felt an earthquake"? No tremors felt here as a result of the aftershock.
posted by ersatzkat at 5:38 PM on August 23, 2011


However, he makes brilliant earthquake update videos. Better than any I've seen on the web. They are timely, accurate, beautifully high-tech, excellent visually and science based.

All things considered, I'll get my science from a guy that doesn't think the US is controlling the weather with HAARP and causing earthquakes.
posted by empath at 5:39 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Felt the aftershock here in Fairfax VA, but only as "oh hey, it kind of feels like our dryer is running".
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:40 PM on August 23, 2011


They (unsurprisingly) did have some damage.

Yet there are scattered reports of chimney collapses as far as three states away, and part of a vacant house collapsed in Camden.
posted by dhartung at 5:42 PM on August 23, 2011


5.8 is what we call an aftershock.

Unless it's a foreshock...
posted by dersins at 5:50 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


the US is controlling the weather with HAARP and causing earthquakes

Well, my own dad worked in weather manipulation, cloud seeding, in the West Indies, when I was a kid. His best friend at the time worked in weather manipulation for the Pentagon, Operation Popeye, making it rain on the Ho Chi Minh trail, during the Vietname War era. So weather manipulation is possible and paid for by the US government too.

But that is not my interest in watching DutchSinse's weather videos. I'm not interested in vindicating wacky scientists either.

There is a practical saying: Take what you like and leave the rest. That works for me with many websites and people too. I like his earthquake videos, they are exceptionally well done. If you know someone who does better earthquake updates, I'll happily watch them there. Since this has been a year of devastating earthquakes in various parts of the planet, I like knowing what's happening on the Richter Scale.
posted by nickyskye at 6:02 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is this a meta? It just feels like a big chat room for people to say "there was an earthquake, ya'll"
posted by hal_c_on at 6:04 PM on August 23, 2011


That's a decent point, dersins, but one of the things I've come to really like about living in Japan is the Shindo scale. It gives a pretty accurate assessment of what the quake actually felt like in your area. Magnitude is interesting and all, but it doesn't really help you to understand what level of quake it was. Magnitude, plus depth, plus a lot of other factors seem to go into determining how powerful the quake actually is. When you look at the maps supplied by the Japanese Meteorological Agency, you get a pretty clear idea of what level something was, and how serious.*

The second link goes to the earthquake we had last Friday, which was pretty damn long, nearly a minute. Japan's had dozens of quakes since then, and rather unpleasantly, it seems one of the minor ones finally caused a road at the bottom of our hill to slump, leading to repair work on an area they'd just gotten around to fixing damage from March quake.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:04 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


*y'all*
posted by hal_c_on at 6:04 PM on August 23, 2011


*correct link for vindicating wacky scientists
posted by nickyskye at 6:14 PM on August 23, 2011


kmz writes "The Secret Service has a Kids' FAQ? That's somehow oddly endearing."

As does the CIA, NSA and the ATF(e). All the US government kids webs sites are fairly well done; there must be a funded mandate for child outreach.

brina writes "You should practice the “DROP, COVER AND HOLD” method at work and at home at least twice a year.'"

I'm picturing flash mob at an airport.

Skygazer writes "Is he being alarmist or being prudent? He suggests at least a month worth of food, water purification tablets, emergency transportation and mapping and escape route away from a city that does not rely on bridges."

This is good advice for anyone, anywhere at anytime. Big scale disaster or even civil unrest can happen anywhere and if they do you are pretty well on your own for days to weeks afterwards. At a minimum practically everyone can afford to keep a weeks worth of water and food squirrelled away.
posted by Mitheral at 6:23 PM on August 23, 2011


one of the things I've come to really like about living in Japan is the Shindo scale

The US equivalent is the Modified Mercalli scale, which is the scale used to identify quake intensity on the USGS map.

If you're ever unable to contact loved ones after an earthquake, check the intensity map. It will give you a better idea of the actual damage/shaking for their location than the Richter scale will.
posted by stefanie at 6:27 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


How is this a meta? It just feels like a big chat room for people to say "there was an earthquake, ya'll"

"Everyone okay" is a sometimes-used subcategory of MetaFilter related posts that show up here occasionally when there's been a big event and people want to make sure if other people are okay. Nothing more complicated than that. And I know it's sort of a tautology but it's a MeTa post because it was posted and not deleted and that's about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:29 PM on August 23, 2011


Felt the initial quake in Worcester, MA. Thought it was a train at first, and then realized I didn't hear any train.

Funny that someone mentioned the building on Devonshire St. in Boston upthread. I happened to catch that exchange on the scanner and it was even funnier than how it was reported. BFD responds to a report of a leaning building, asks that the owner be contacted, and while en route the dispatcher calls the incident command to inform them that "the landloahd sweahs it's always leaned like that", and commander told them to get the landlord down there right away, in his gruff voice. Just a really strange exchange in the context of discussing what's at least a 10 story building.
posted by rollbiz at 6:32 PM on August 23, 2011


Aftershocks of magnitude 2.8 and 4.2 hit Tuesday near the Virginia epicenter of an earlier magnitude 5.9 earthquake, the U.S. Geological Survey said on its website.

The 2.8 aftershock struck 84 miles southwest of Washington, D.C., at a depth of less than 0.1 mile, and the 4.2 aftershock was about 32 miles east-southeast of Charlottesville, Va., at a depth of about 4.8 miles, the USGS said.

posted by nickyskye at 6:57 PM on August 23, 2011


How is this a meta? It just feels like a big chat room for people to say "there was an earthquake, ya'll"

While you may not have been affected personally by this event as you are in New Zealand, there is plenty of precedent for MeFites to gather in MeTa to check up on each other in the wake of such events. I consider this a net positive.

Do you consider this a negative? If so, why?
posted by joe lisboa at 7:17 PM on August 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


My parents are in Philadelphia, and I called to make sure they were okay. My father slept thru the flippin' thing!
posted by Attackpanda at 7:27 PM on August 23, 2011


My parents are in Philadelphia, and I called to make sure they were okay. My father slept thru the flippin' thing!

My mom called me from Philadelphia about an hour ago and joked about how I was a bad son for not calling her. At least I think it was a joke.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:28 PM on August 23, 2011


I was in a meeting in my ground floor office in East W'burg when my boss said, "Do you feel that? That's an earthquake." The light were swaying overhead. We looked around and exclaimed to one another, but nobody took cover or ran outside. My boyfriend called me immediately to ask if I had felt it, and that in my apartment building (which coincidentally is rather close to the fault line at 125th Street) the dishes were clinking in the cupboards and that the cats were flipping out.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:31 PM on August 23, 2011


Another Californian here, and 5.8 isn't a small quake. It's huge for that area, too.

The "shake reports" are actually useful, too. If you go to the USGS site for the main shock or any recorded event you can click on the link at the bottom that reads "Did you feel it?" link. There's another link after that above the "shake map" to get to the actual form and enter your report.

Note that they're using the Mercalli intensity scale for self-reporting. That wikipedia link has a handy color-coded chart with annotated descriptions to help you gauge what you felt.

And one obvious thing I'm seeing is the sheer distances the quake was felt from hypocenter. I would not want to be out that way for a 7 to 8.0 or larger quake. I'm suddenly appreciating the softer, younger ground and bedrock out here on the left coast.
posted by loquacious at 7:31 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I didn't realize 125th street was around an actual fault line. I just figured that's where DeWitt Clinton stopped his project of razing/filling Manhattan.

*The More You Know*
posted by Navelgazer at 7:58 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


That USGS is something fierce. That is some fast data aggregation and mapping, and they're all set up to do it and spit it right back out. Impressive. Your tax dollars at work.
posted by Miko at 7:59 PM on August 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


I love the USGS. You can also make an account to send custom alerts to SMS or email based on region and intensity.

It's not an early warning system, though. The last time I was around a quake and had it turned on it was a good 5 minute delay or something.
posted by loquacious at 8:13 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Is there somewhere to find out what the equivalent magnitude was at a certain place? I mean, I'm in Morristown, NJ, and it's by far the biggest one I've felt. But, for me, what was it? a 4? a 3? Anyone know how to find that out?
I could easily be misinterpreting this, and even if I'm not this is obviously not exact, but it seems like 500 km from the epicenter (which Morristown, NJ is, approximately) would have been something like a 3.
posted by Flunkie at 8:21 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is there anything that would distinguish something being a foreshock from it being the main event? I'm assuming probably not, but it's never really something I'd thought to consider before.
posted by codacorolla at 8:21 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm in Washington DC but spent my childhood and college years in California and have experienced the Loma Prieta and Northridge quakes, so today's tremor was pretty minor to me.

I was in my car when it hit and it felt like being on bridge with an expansion joint moving or the like - it crossed my mind that it could be a quake but I didn't dwell on it. I was unfortunately on the way to my dentist way across town. They were evac'ed out of their building but after a few minutes we went in and examined and cleaned my teeth as normal. I hit severe gridlock on the way home so I parked the car and hoofed it, walking four miles across DC in an hour and a half, much faster than any of the cars or buses I passed.
posted by exogenous at 8:26 PM on August 23, 2011


at a depth of less than 0.1 mile - I bet we see a big hole there real soon.
posted by Ardiril at 8:32 PM on August 23, 2011


Hey, do we really need two posts on metafilter telling all of us east coasters what tools we are for over-reacting? One thin frontpage post about it was already deleted. We really don't need this other one and this one, do we?
posted by crunchland at 8:49 PM on August 23, 2011


We were looking at it, but it's not flagged terribly much and no one stepped up and did another one. I'm as sick as you all are about the ZOMG NUKES stuff, but the thread wasn't mostly about that and it wasn't lousy enough to delete.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:06 PM on August 23, 2011


it's sort of a tautology but it's a MeTa post because it was posted and not deleted and that's about it.

This clears up a lot.

While you may not have been affected personally by this event as you are in New Zealand, there is plenty of precedent for MeFites to gather in MeTa to check up on each other in the wake of such events. I consider this a net positive.

Do you consider this a negative? If so, why?


I understand what you're saying, although I do not agree with it. I don't understand what me being in NZ has to do with the precedent, but I do understand that there is a precedent of this on metafilter.

I don't see what purpose a "check up" would do. Its like asking everybody in class if everybody is present. I see it more as "did anybody get a good look...whats going on?". It makes me believe that this feature may be deleted in the future after something really gory or sensitive is posted here.

If someone really did need help after an earthquake, nuclear disaster, whatever...metafilter would be the least efficient way of communicating a need for help.

This is just rubbernecking.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:13 PM on August 23, 2011


It's hard to believe that you're not being intentionally obnoxious, hal_c_on.
posted by ericost at 9:23 PM on August 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


hal_c_on, I have to disagree. Metafilter was one of the most reliable ways I had of getting news in the first hours to days after the Fukushima earthquake. There are a good number of people here who are well educated about a wide variety of things, and able to find the right sources to spread good information. The earthquake in Japan is only on of dozens of developing stories that Metafilter seems to 'do' better than pretty much any single news organization out there.

Sure, it seems a little silly now, it was a minor earthquake, but it was the first earthquake for, I would guess, nearly all of the people who felt it. The Meta was started with good intentions, and then just went on to be what all Metas become, in the end, a random community chatroom, which isn't killing anyone, or wasting valuable internet space. If you don't like it, there's the flag button, and there's the menu for looking at different posts.
posted by Ghidorah at 9:28 PM on August 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is just rubbernecking.

Communities manifest themselves in different ways and this sort of activity is a social cohesion mechanism among other things, a place to share stories and yeah if there was someone who needed help, a place to be made aware of that.

You appear to have a perspective that differs from the bulk of the people in this thread. This thread is 100% optional and you don't have to participate in it if you find it distasteful. The "is this sort of thing okay" decision is made generally by the community and, to some extent, the mods. We've said this thread is okay. You can do what you want with that information.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:29 PM on August 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


Is there somewhere to find out what the equivalent magnitude was at a certain place? I mean, I'm in Morristown, NJ, and it's by far the biggest one I've felt. But, for me, what was it? a 4? a 3? Anyone know how to find that out?

Funny. I have family near Mo'Town who didn't feel a thing (despite that Morristown is almost directly on the Ramapo Fault Line). However, other family members in Sommerville and NYC were quite rattled up by the quake.

Ditto for here in DC -- some people barely felt a thing. Others (myself included) got quite a shake.
posted by schmod at 9:43 PM on August 23, 2011


I have to disagree. Metafilter was one of the most reliable ways I had of getting news in the first hours to days after the Fukushima earthquake.

What you used is different from what you had access to.

The earthquake in Japan is only on of dozens of developing stories that Metafilter seems to 'do' better than pretty much any single news organization out there.

This is not news, its discussion.

The Meta was started with good intentions, and then just went on to be what all Metas become, in the end, a random community chatroom, which isn't killing anyone, or wasting valuable internet space. If you don't like it, there's the flag button, and there's the menu for looking at different posts.

I know. I can question things on here. I don't really agree with the school that says "if you don't like it, leave".

I'm just wondering why you all find this so beneficial. Thats all. You're all free to disagree with my views just as I am to disagree with yours.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:43 PM on August 23, 2011


One thin frontpage post about it was already deleted.

It was deleted specifically for being ridiculously thin. With the exception of a deletion that explicitly says otherwise, "someone can try and do a better job of this" is pretty much implied when we nix something, and as much as it's a bit silly to have some duplication across the grey and the blue it's not totally unreasonable for there to be a less mefi-centric post over there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:00 PM on August 23, 2011


This is just rubbernecking.

Empathy is a noun, and thus, a thing. I suggest you look it up.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:08 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


hal_c_on writes "I'm just wondering why you all find this so beneficial."

It builds community.
posted by Mitheral at 10:09 PM on August 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can kinda sorta maybe see what hal_c_on is saying only in that this thread isn't really I think checking in to see if everyone is okay (since there were no injuries or fatalities in this case) but of course, this is normal community building which is never IMO a bad thing.
posted by 1000monkeys at 10:11 PM on August 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, hal_c_on, that was harsher on re-view than I intended. I just meant to say: you seem to be coming across as slightly robotic on this point. Not a personal slam, just an observation. The Grey and the Blue serve different functions. What is good precedent for one may not apply to the other. I brought up your region since you seemed so (to me: oddly) disaffected by the content of this post and thread. I tried the charitable reading by attributing it to your literal distance from said events.

Again, not really sure why you believe you have a horse in this non-race, but meant no ill will.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:12 PM on August 23, 2011


"did you know kurt vonneguts' brother was an atmosheric scientist and discovered a way to seed supercooled cloud water and now we have silver iodide That could be quite benifical Mr. Vulcan and discussing is good for morale."
posted by clavdivs at 10:22 PM on August 23, 2011


I'm just wondering why you all find this so beneficial.

Because I know lots of people, mefites and non-mefites, who are in the areas where this was felt. Some people I keep in touch with via facebook or g+; some people I keep in touch with via this place. I like to hear that my friends are okay; I like to hear their perspectives on what happened. I like to hear explanations from knowledgeable people for whom I have a context beyond "Spokesperson for the USGS."
posted by rtha at 10:48 PM on August 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


I was having a NSFW dream that suddenly got re-located to a boat. Subconscious, I like your style.
posted by the young rope-rider at 11:01 PM on August 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


I don't really agree with the school that says "if you don't like it, leave".

Absolutely. However if you're questioning the purpose of something being here and people tell you why it's here and what they're getting out of it, and you're not receiving the same value from it, at some point stepping out of that particular thread may be useful, lest you turn it into a referendum on your own inability to get the same value from it.

This thread is discussion and news. Or, put another way, it's the people in this community talking to each other about the way a newsworthy event impacted them. I like this nerdy group of people and their take on things, so I'd rather be reading this thread than much of the rest of the major media reporting about it. That may not matter to you, which is fine. However, it's one of the things this part of the site is for, serving its intended purpose. You may not agree with that or like it, but it might be worth thinking about what sort of results you're looking for here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:49 PM on August 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


And, because that's how we roll, (heh) the Bay Area just had what someone described as a "burp" rather than an earthquake. East Bay to be specific, on the Hayward Fault. Didn't feel it here on the coast, was too busy enjoying the phosphorescent waves.
posted by Lynsey at 12:02 AM on August 24, 2011


Way late to this but wanted to add some perspective on why one should try to avoid taking shelter in a doorway.

In '89, I was working in this 1920s era building when a 7.1 quake centered ~12 miles away struck. I braced myself in the heavy oak-framed doorway of my office only to take several very hard body hits from my solid oak office door as it violently swung back and forth from the force of the quake until there was an extra hard jolt, the door slammed completely shut and I was propelled ass over teakettle into the middle of the hallway in the same manner as a golf ball thwacked by a 7 iron. Much later, I noticed in addition to being bruised up and down on the side that had faced the door, I had gotten blackened fingernails from where the door had smashed my fingers against the frame. So, no more standing in doorways during quakes for me.
posted by jamaro at 12:11 AM on August 24, 2011


I know. I can question things on here. I don't really agree with the school that says "if you don't like it, leave".

It wasn't my intention to say "if you don't like it, leave." Honestly, what I was trying to say was that I don't have any idea why, if you have such a deep dislike for what's happening here, if it's making you upset enough to post multiple times about how you think this is bad, why on earth wouldn't you go elsewhere? Why wouldn't you check out another link on the blue, or check out ask, or something that might bring you some form of enjoyment? There's about 400 comments here. Mods have said it's not going anywhere. Throwing yourself against a brick wall can't be all that much fun. In other words, flag it, and move on to something that doesn't bother you so much.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:27 AM on August 24, 2011


The east coast? Man, I didn't feel a thing, guess I was asleep.
posted by tumid dahlia at 12:55 AM on August 24, 2011


Oh we're talking about the east coast of WorldLand, where I order all my Amazon stuff from. Carry on!
posted by tumid dahlia at 12:58 AM on August 24, 2011


I'm just wondering why you all find this so beneficial.

hal_c_on, I came home late last night from a dinner with friends, happy and inebriated. Just before stumbling to bed, I stumbled across the news that my elderly parents' home was 40 miles away from the epicenter of an earthquake felt up and down the East Coast. I couldn't get them on the phone. I accessed a local TV station's site for news, and a quick skim resulted in alarm: it seemed to say that a number of homes had suffered serious structural damage and some had even collapsed. Pictures of brick piles weren't identified as to location. Still couldn't get my folks on the phone. Came in here, and was almost immediately informed by local eyewitnesses I can trust that things were absolutely not as potentially dire as I was fearing.

Sure, I would have eventually got ahold of my folks, sure, I worried unnecessarily, yeah, I would have figured out my alcohol-fueled misreading of somewhat alarmist news - but lemme tellya: I was damned glad I could just come here and ask.

(Finally got my folks on the phone. Their cells were off and they had gone to check up on my uncle, forgetting to leave messages for my sister and I. Heh.)
posted by likeso at 2:19 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I also got to see the fabled red deletion box in the other post in real time ... cool.
posted by Cocodrillo at 2:50 AM on August 24, 2011


Turns out it was felt here in Savannah, GA. Nothing big and mostly by those who were in multiple story buildings.

I was out on one of the islands at the time, didn't feel a thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:43 AM on August 24, 2011


Way late to this but wanted to add some perspective on why one should try to avoid taking shelter in a doorway.

Just to be clear, I would not have imagined using a doorway with a door in it.
posted by Miko at 4:59 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


hal_c_on writes: If someone really did need help after an earthquake, nuclear disaster, whatever...metafilter would be the least efficient way of communicating a need for help.

This is just rubbernecking.


Man, don't you ever get tired of being such a drag?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Cue the crazies saying that the MLK memorial is somehow at fault. Or that god is punishing the president...

Oh, they were out in force. It is interesting that in the 21st century, in the country with what I am frequently told is the best educational system in the world, many people have a grasp of the Scheme of Things about on par with Emperor Justinian 1.

And for what it's worth, I noticed nothing of this quake in Ottawa. I was eating a late lunch with three colleagues on a patio and none of us had any clue this had happened, although strangely we had been talking about the previous year's earthquake over lunch.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:56 AM on August 24, 2011


hal_c_on: "I'm just wondering why you all find this so beneficial."

Mitheral: It builds community."

It's also a by-product of our already-established community.

hal_c_on, it's not rubbernecking when it happens to you and the people you care about. It only becomes rubbernecking when you're an outside observer, looking in.

We are not wholly disconnected from each other. A number of us are friends outside of Metafilter, to varying degrees. Some of us have met in person, some slept together, some got married, or played online games together, or chatted by email, IM or SMS, or met in chat rooms / cam conferences, etc., etc. MeFi is vast, it contains multitudes. ;)

Participation is optional. But we're a community that for some is a bit deeper than this one website. So it's natural for us to want to connect and say, 'Are you okay?' when something happens.
posted by zarq at 6:36 AM on August 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


This is just rubbernecking.

If anyone is rubbernecking, you are.
posted by empath at 6:40 AM on August 24, 2011


I wish someone would rub my neck.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:04 AM on August 24, 2011


hal_c_ons gonna hal_c_on.
posted by rollbiz at 7:08 AM on August 24, 2011


Damn, Brandon, all those spouses and not a single one of 'em'll give you a neck rub?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2011


Rough economy.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:11 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


My long hair can't cover up my rubber neck.
posted by Sailormom at 7:37 AM on August 24, 2011


I thought the term was "rough trade"?
posted by griphus at 7:48 AM on August 24, 2011


Roughneck.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:50 AM on August 24, 2011


Hey, we had an earthquake in the Bay Area! I noticed an extremely faint vibration and the building creaked a tiny bit. I thought to myself, "possibly an earthquake" and wrote down the time.

I just looked it up, and yep, an earthquake. 3.9 about 15 miles away. It was barely perceptible in downtown San Francisco.
posted by ryanrs at 8:12 AM on August 24, 2011


pfft. 3.9. big deal.
posted by crunchland at 8:27 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


When Chuck Norris gets out of bed in the morning, it's a 3.9.
posted by Miko at 8:52 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


The 3.9 last night, at 11:36, was enough to wake me up. Damn this going to bed early! (Then later on I had a bad dream. I think it's unrelated.)
posted by madcaptenor at 8:56 AM on August 24, 2011


I was super nervous for an upcoming meeting and thought the wobbling was just me being anxious and over-caffeinated
posted by The Whelk at 9:29 AM on August 24, 2011


130 people in my ZIP code reported feeling last night's 3.9. I slept through it. (To be fair, I was exhausted from the stress and rage produced by last night's Giant's game.)
posted by rtha at 9:43 AM on August 24, 2011


Cue the crazies saying that the MLK memorial is somehow at fault.

N.O.M. Rabbi Yehuda Levin Blames Earthquake On Gays, Claims Direct Link Between Quakes And Homosexuality: Video.
posted by ericb at 9:55 AM on August 24, 2011


'Hey East Coast, the entire West Coast is mocking you right now'.
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on August 24, 2011


Dear Rabbi,

Yeah, dude, you better be scared! You be nice to me and mine - stop being such a total shitheel about us and how we aren't humans or real citizens or deserving or rights or whatever, because I will cause an earthquake to knock you the fuck out.

If I had only half the powers ascribed to me by the people who hate me, I admit that it would be hard to restrain myself from using them only for good sometimes.

And hey, we just had an earthquake! No lie, as I was proofreading this, the house shook!
posted by rtha at 9:58 AM on August 24, 2011


Wait, getting Gay Married gives you Earthquake powers?

Oh awesome I get to wear a cape.
posted by The Whelk at 10:00 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Homosexuality: the sex is so good it makes the earth move for everybody.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 10:02 AM on August 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


The Whelk - you didn't know? It's in the small print somewhere in your marriage certificate, I'm pretty sure. What color cape are you going to pick (we don't want to clash, do we).
posted by rtha at 10:04 AM on August 24, 2011


3.6 just now on the Hayward fault, it looks like, in the East Bay.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:06 AM on August 24, 2011


Actually one of the few gay x-men has earthquake powers
posted by The Whelk at 10:07 AM on August 24, 2011


Californians Are Being Insufferable About This Earthquake.
posted by ericb at 10:08 AM on August 24, 2011


'Hey East Coast, the entire West Coast is mocking you right now'.

"Andrew Lakoff, a University of Southern California anthropology and sociology professor who studies cultural responses to disasters, said West Coasters seemed to be reacting to scenes of East Coasters losing their cool over the quake. In California, where there is firsthand knowledge of what large quakes look like, something magnitude-5.9 is a relatively minor threat. "A perverse consequence of living with the ongoing specter of catastrophe is this sense of pride," he said.


Still not as annoying or disturbing as people from Baltimore taking pride in the murder rate while The Wire was on TV.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:08 AM on August 24, 2011


Ahem California
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


The Quake We Should Fear -- "The earthquakes yesterday scared people along the East Coast, but Simon Winchester warns that the truly terrifying earthquake may strike the Midwest—and why FEMA is preparing for it."
posted by ericb at 10:09 AM on August 24, 2011


What color cape are you going to pick

I'm going to assume he'll go with nantucket red, tbh.
posted by elizardbits at 10:10 AM on August 24, 2011


guaranteed to fade.
posted by The Whelk at 10:12 AM on August 24, 2011


re: Fracking...

Earthquakes are releases of energy that gets stored in the crust due to plate tectonics. I'm willing to believe that fracking can cause faults to slip, but its not going to add energy to the crust that isn't already there. All things considered, I'd rather have a bunch of 5s than a single 8.
posted by empath at 10:12 AM on August 24, 2011


ericb: "N.O.M. Rabbi Yehuda Levin Blames Earthquake On Gays, Claims Direct Link Between Quakes And Homosexuality: Video."

Christ, What An Goddamned Asshole.
posted by zarq at 10:15 AM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


All things being equal, I'd rather be in Philadelphia.
posted by nathancaswell at 10:15 AM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm just wondering why you all find this so beneficial. Thats all. You're all free to disagree with my views just as I am to disagree with yours.

Here's a thing: There's a flagging function. You can express and vote your displeasure without derailing and thread-crapping. I know it's not as satisfying as typing it out and posting it, but maybe you should stop and think about why typing it out and posting it is more satisfying to you,and why flagging it and moving on isn't.

Because the threadcrapping is really ingratiating, shitty feeling and not actually doing you any favors. It's really negative and tiresome. It's destructive rather than constructive. It's friction and energy loss rather than energy gain.

In short, my expressed opinion is "For the love of god, please stop whinging you short-sighted nincompoop."

But there's another thing:

Some of us treat MetaFilter like an extended family, because they are. At this point there's a whole lot of us that have met each other at meetups. Those contact lists in people's profiles aren't just about witty comments, they're about favorite people.

I've drank beers with many of the people in my list. All the people marked "met" in my contacts I've actually met. I've house or cat sit for many them, given them art, eaten in their homes. I've been given lots of love and help in return. I've even had a couple random flings.

And there's a lot of people I haven't met yet that I want to meet.

And these are real people to me, not just words on a screen.

There's a whole vast network of concern, care and love hundreds or thousands of people deep that criss-crosses the world. Sure, Metafilter is just one such family. People also do that on Facebook, or Fark, or Reddit, and those families are overlap with ours.

But some of us don't do Facebook at all. Or Twitter. Like me.

So a thread like this is the best way to check in on a lot of those folks. There's people I met and know on the East coast of the US that I'm glad to see check in. Some of these people I'm friendly enough to check in with in person, others I'm not, but still want to know how they're doing.

Combined with the second thing above, I trust that network. I can get more accurate, faster, and better news from those people than I can strangers on a TV channel or news website because they're right there where it happened. I can trust the sources, especially when people are checking in as an aggregate in a single thread.

So not only do I get accurate field reporting on a major event, but I get to check in on some of my favorite people and make sure they're OK. These are people who have had my back and been there for me. I want to be there for them, even if all I can really offer from here is some kind words.
posted by loquacious at 10:28 AM on August 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Wow, I love this buried tidbit at the very very end of the the 'Hey East Coast, the entire West Coast is mocking you right now' story:

In West Virginia, environmental regulators sent engineers to inspect massive coal slurry dams that could wipe out entire communities if they were to fail and release billions of gallons of wastewater.

Surely such news deserves more coverage than a footnote at the very end of a ridiculously long fluff piece...
posted by dialetheia at 11:21 AM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thanks, loquacious. I somehow knew that was you before I'd read enough to see your name (which I love!) at the bottom.
posted by jgirl at 11:41 AM on August 24, 2011


Hey, I just showered! I can't be that smelly!
posted by loquacious at 12:12 PM on August 24, 2011


dialetheia: That may be news if it were somewhere other than West Virginia.
posted by Ardiril at 12:24 PM on August 24, 2011


Aw thanks Loquacious man.

I feel another hugfest coming on...


((((((((((HUG))))))))))
posted by Skygazer at 2:09 PM on August 24, 2011


Man, don't you ever get tired of being such a drag?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:09 AM on August 24 [2 favorites +] [!]


Listen. There's a reason why I banned you from memailing me. You're certainly not obliged to, but it would be nice if you wouldn't try to communicate with me in the threads as well.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:06 PM on August 24, 2011


*Hugfest cancelled.


*Exit, stage left...

posted by Skygazer at 4:21 PM on August 24, 2011


Yeah. Endless drag.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:35 PM on August 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whatever ongoing grudge you guys have needs to stay out of MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:37 PM on August 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Whatever ongoing grudge you guys have needs to stay out of MetaTalk.

OK.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:39 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


40 minutes or so ago, we had a 4.5 aftershock. Ok, I really over this now
posted by SuzySmith at 10:48 PM on August 24, 2011


I am, damn it. Too tired to type
posted by SuzySmith at 10:50 PM on August 24, 2011


More cracks found in Washington Monument
posted by crunchland at 8:46 AM on August 25, 2011


I think crunchland meant to link to this.
posted by desjardins at 9:02 AM on August 25, 2011


Oops. thanks, desjardins.
posted by crunchland at 9:03 AM on August 25, 2011


Pat Robertson Suggests Crack In The Washington Monument Was A Sign From God
"Ladies and gentlemen I don’t want to get weird on this so please take it for what it’s worth. But it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power, it has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and say this is one nation under God. Now there’s a crack in it, there’s a crack in it and it’s closed up. Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance or is it just result of an earthquake? You judge, but I just want to bring that to your attention. It seems to me symbolic. When Jesus was crucified and when he died the curtain in the Temple was rent from top to bottom and there was a tear and it was extremely symbolic, is this symbolic? You judge."
posted by ericb at 3:20 PM on August 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Ladies and gentlemen I don’t want to get weird on this

Too late, dude. Way, way too late.
posted by rtha at 3:25 PM on August 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


You read my MIND, rtha. I almost posted the same exact thing before I got to your comment!
posted by Miko at 8:31 PM on August 25, 2011


Whatever ongoing grudge you guys have needs to stay out of MetaTalk.

OK.


No argument from me either.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:42 AM on August 26, 2011


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