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Monday, April 21, 2008

Earthquake!!

You may have heard about the 5.2 earthquake that recently hit Illinois. St. Louis is about 130 miles or so from the epicenter, and we felt it pretty strongly. My wife and I were sound asleep when the whole house started shaking. My wife asked, half asleep "what was that?" I told her it was an earthquake, and then I ran downstairs to check on the power and gas (never hurts to check). My son slept through the whole thing, but the next day when an aftershock shook the house when we were playing LEGO he got the weirdest look on his face and asked what it was.

I have been in several earthquakes during my lifetime, luckily none of them have been life threatening. The first earthquake I remember was in Lima, Ohio when I was about 6 or 7. I was was sitting at the kitchen table of my Grandma's house when the whole house started shaking. The salt and pepper shakers were rattling across the table, and I was pretty freaked out by it. Up until that point I considered the ground pretty solid. My mom and Grandma explained what happened and I calmed down, but I have always remembered that feeling of complete loss of control and awe at the power of the earth.

When we moved to Utah earthquakes were a more common occurrence than in the Midwest. My high school was located right in the middle of where a fault split for a short distance. They even had promotional materials at one point that said our school was a "School Without Fault" (believe me when I say this did not inspire any confidence). I felt many small earthquakes during my time in Utah. Once while I was in High School, I was asleep and my bed started shaking pretty hard. I was out of it, and thought it was my brother kicking my bed. I started yelling at him to leave me alone and get out of my room, but when I opened my eyes I was alone in a dark room... I felt pretty stupid. When I worked at the Utah Geological Survey a small tremor shook the office when we were working one day. It was funny seeing a bunch of geologists trying to figure out if what they felt was an earthquake, or just a big truck driving by. Luckily, I had a add-on for my Firefox browser that would pop up a message when earthquakes went off, and were posted by the USGS. It confirmed we actually felt an earthquake.

I have always been interested by natural disasters. I think it is funny (in a sad sort of way) when people refuse to prepare for, or mitigate disasters. There are natural disasters that happen just about everywhere. I doubt there is anyplace that is completely immune so instead of just ignoring them people should prepare....that is unless they get hit by the "Earthquake Enhanced Tornado Being Hit by a Radioactive Meteor Event"

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