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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Earthquake Tips for my British Readers

I see the news online that some of you folks may have felt a bit of a rollercoaster ride early Wednesday with a 5.1 quake. I must say around here 5.1 wouldn't do a lot of damage, as a general rule in southern California, simply because the houses are designed for a little bit of "give" and if a structure was built after a certain time, little if any brickwork is allowed to be used.


Do yourselves this favor, it could save your life: IF you are IN a building when an earthquake hits, DO NOT IMMEDIATELY RUN OUTSIDE LIKE AN IDIOT. Your biggest chance of getting hurt is by falling brickwork when the quake is going on. Ditto, if you are outside, STAY OUTSIDE, and away from power lines. Wait until it stops and then wait a bit more before moving out if you are in or vice versa. If you really feel the need to take cover: Go stand in an *INTERIOR* doorframe, the level of support is better there structurally.

The quake you folks had could even be a foreshock to an even bigger shock. In my own experience, (besides little earthquakes that go virtually unnoticed all the time) the "big one" hit followed by smaller ones over the next week or two....but in theory that's not always the case.

If your house is shaking like hell feel free to dive under a table. And as with any emergency pre-preparations, it's never a bad idea to have flashlights, batteries, bottled water and tinned food, TP - and those space blankets are great just in case. If a REALLY big one hit, the government can't necessarily get to everyone at once. Around here a 5.1 is certainly an "attention getter" but not so much of a big deal, simply because of the construction codes. (For instance a 5.5 here would still be classed as "moderate.")

(Some of us still get excited about quakes, but for a different reason.)

Oh, and in your cases, I'd stay THE HELL out of Westminster Cathedral for a while if I could help it. Now you have a built in excuse for not going.

Stay safe, and I hope everyone is okay.


Stephen said...

Slept right through it. Didn't notice a thing.

Anonymous said...

Well I didn't notice it!

The Digital Hairshirt said...

bwjaolOh, Karen, a 5.1 wouldn't even get me out of bed!

But the Digihusband would be up immediately, punching into KNX-1070 or going to the CalTech site just to find out the magnitude. Geek.

However, I always love the way that when a quake hits during the day, everyone around you immediately starts playing the magnitude guessing game. "That was a 5.0." "Naw, I'm thinking it's less . . . mebbe a 4.7 . . ." And combined with it is the "Guess the Epicenter" game as well. Also, "I thinkin' this was more of a roller than a shaker, don't you?" And everyone starts calling people they know in other parts of the Southland - "Didja feel it? How strong ws it there?" A small earthquake during the work day is like a coffee break with free danish!

gemoftheocean said...

Digi! You know I *almost* mentioned the earthquake "game."

A: "4.1"
B: "Nah, 3.8 at best."
A: "WELL, I *think* it might have been 4.0"

And around here unless the ground opened up in front of you, it would be considered seriously C.S. to dive under a table. If you're in a public place and someone does that, you'd immediately say "TOURIST!"

[Now that doesn't mean you British people shouldn't take cover, YOUR stuff IS made of all that brickwork.]

I can remember the Northridge quake, we felt that sucker from over 100 miles away down in San Diego. I can tell just by the way the house shakes where the general direction was. On that occaions, just by the way the house shook, I knew that it was a) a BIG one, NOT local b) in LA

Did I get up? No. About 10 minutes afterwards my mother spoke. (none of the 3 of us having said anything.) "Isn't anyone the least curious?" me: "Mom, I'm tyring to get some more sleep, besides it's usually a good 20 minutes before Cal tech can get their data to the newscast and they can get it on air."

I was glad to be able to finally post that cow vid. I'd been saving her for some time.

I'd much rather be in a 6.0 in socal than a 5.0 in the UK.

gemoftheocean said...

BTW, I'd much rather live somewhere prone to earthquakes than hurricanes and tornadoes. Even if the biggest earthquake happened your "stuff" would still be there. In a hurricane your stuff may get washed out to sea, or in a hurricane end up 3 states over.

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

Since experiencing the Loma Prieta quake (the one during the Wold Series in San Francisco) from almost ground zero (I was just south of the collapsed section of the freeway), I no longer feel anything less than a 6. (The USGS in Menlo Park was about 10 miles from ground zero, I was about 20).
BTW Karen, is that clip about where milk shakes come from? I think it was filmed in Hollister...

gemoftheocean said...

It's one of the happy cow commercials.. the "foot massage" one!

Out in the open is safest place to be..unless you have the misfortune to be standing right where the ground cracks open. ;-D

ArchAngel's Advocate said...

"When I get to heaven tie me to a tree,
or I'll begin to roam, and soon you know where I will be."
Hymn for the Roamin' Catholic

gemoftheocean said...

I want to be in a hammock, under a trea near the gate. I'll have a springer spaniel frisking around too.


Amy said...

BTW, I'd much rather live somewhere prone to earthquakes than hurricanes and tornadoes.

And I'd rather be in a tornado. Being a Midwest gal, earthquakes scare the livin' daylights outta me.

My stuff I can replace, and I can hide from a tornado. I can't get away when the ground is shaking.

gemoftheocean said...

Amy, gotta laugh. You guys hear about tornadoes coming down the pike, for a few days ahead of time, and then you cower in your bathrooms for hours.

Here, unless we are right on top of where a crack opens up in the earth (poor bastards, thank God that almsot never happens) unless it's in the 6.0 range we just roll over and go back to bed. It's all over in a minute.

It's no worse than riding in an airplane and hitting rough air. That's what I'd compare it to!



WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

I woke up, thought it was one of the boys, realised it was a bit of an earthquake and went back to sleep.

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