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Snooth User: EMark

Whoa!!!!!!!! Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake Nearby

Posted by EMark, Mar 29, 2014.

Wine inventory appears to be OK.

And don't come back with "5.1?  That's nothing.  I was in the 9.3 in Alaska."  I don't care.  I have to calm down Mrs. EMark and Zorro the cat.  Wine will work for Mrs. EMark.  I can't do much for Zorro.

You may return to your normal activity.  



Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2014.

My cat was alone in the house on March 11, 2011. She wasn't happy by the time I was able to get home (no trains running) almost a day later. Nor was the crockery in the cupboard above the sink that went flying. Lost some good antique pottery. Power (briefly) and gas (longer) off in the building, though water was still on.

The big one hit (huge in Tokyo, even larger north up the coast) while I was in the office with only 3 or 4 others. The tremors began large and just kept growing. But mostly just kept going and going--thought several times it must stop but it just up-shifted instead. House we were in was wooden construction and was waving back and forth pretty violently (iMacs flying off desks, etc.), but nothing like the concrete power poles and wires out the windows that were whipping like fly-fishing rods. Secretary went under my desk in huge distress. Other reactions from the dev team members who are usually pretty macho. Character definitely outs under stress. Guided the team to a huge park a couple of kilos away, though we did try to stop at a bar for a break on the way until I pointed to the glass wall fronting it.

Several of us had a beerathon (not a place for wine) at my favorite local a few kilos further down the road. Once of those end-of-the-world nights with models dancing on the bar, etc. Made lots of new friends.

Information was scanty about what was going on up in Fukushima though the tsunami devastation was clear immediately. By end of the second day after the temblor people were rushing to make plans to leave town immediately, since despite (or because of) Tepco's stonewalling and the government's obfuscation (and inept fumbling) it was becoming increasingly clear that potentially uncontrollable very-bad things were going on up in Fukushima. Found out later almost so at another nuclear plant closer to Tokyo that just barely skated.

My wine inventory was fine, too. One not-so-great (amongst many from that day onwards) thing was all the hefty aftershocks, several a day for more than half a year afterwards. Plenty of PTSD contagion, not just up north.


Should I be right to assume nothing too disastrous regarding infrastructure and casualties over where you are?

Reply by JonDerry, Mar 29, 2014.

Don't sell yourself short Mark. I think it was a 5.3 or 5.4.

Felt it up here a bit, too in LA.

More mild to moderate up here, but imagine it was plenty rough over there.

Reply by outthere, Mar 29, 2014.

We bet 3s from the geysers all the time up here but haven't had a real knee buckler since Loma Prieta back on Oct 17, 1989. It was my Sons 1st Birthday. I was at work under the hood of a car while the World Series pre-game played on the radio in the background. Suddenly the hood hit me in the head and things shook so good i had to hold on for balance.

We were the first freeway exit South of San Francisco with power after the quake. Cars streamed in all evening. It was bedlam. The Wife and kids were at my Moms house for the Birthday celebration. Things shook so hard that the lost 2' of water out of the swimming pool at the house!

Luckily for us nobody was injured. Can't say that for the poor souls on the Eastshore Freeway Cyprus Viaduct and Bay Bridge among other places. Seemed to take all the fight out of my SF Giants as they ended up being swept by the cross-bay A's after  a weeks' delay. Couldn't stop under an overpass for months.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 29, 2014.

Yeah, I remember having that feeling under overpasses after Loma Prieta.  My father was actually scheduled to meet my mother for dinner that night very near the Cypress Structure and would have been on it had he not left a boring conference early.  He was parked on the streets outside the restaurant.  My mother had just exited the Webster/Posey Tube.  I was working for Gap, Inc., at the time, and my boss and most of the top execs had left to go to the game.  I was with one of my employees in my office when it hit.  We were on the phone talking to his girlfriend making dinner arrangements because it was his birthday.  Poor guy--he had been working on Wall St. two years earlier when Black Monday happened two days before his birthday.  He was new to Cali and it was his first quake.  I thought nothing of it until my phone went dead and the shaking just wouldn't stop.  The usual quake is really short, but LP was a solid 15 seconds and felt much longer.  After about five seconds I actually took it seriously and got up from my desk--and promptly fell down walking to the door because our tilt-up building was rocking so hard. We got in Bill's car and tried to drive into SF (Gap was HQed in San Bruno at the time) but traffic was stopped everywhere.  We decided to get a hotel room on the Peninsula--everything was booked.  We actually went south, getting off the freeway at each exit where there was a hotel.  Probably went right by OT's old place.  Finally we went up El Camino Real into SF, snaked our way through the city and got to his house in the Marina.  We watched the fire from the window.  I spent the night on their couch to re-assure them, then went home the next day after we had breakfast at Tiptop Diner--they had gas but no electric, so they were making coffee on the grill and the menu was limited.  Gas was shut off in my neighborhood (Duboce Triangle) because of a fear that there was a leak.  After a couple days sitting home and not showering, I got on BART and went to my folks house.  While I was on the train in the Transbay Tube, an aftershock hit.  I was so tired I was resigned to my fate.  Funny thing is, the only actually damage in my apartment was a broken espresso cup that had fallen off a shelf.  Less than a week after the quake, Bill's building was condemned--hard to believe I spent the night on one of the higher floors.

I've lived through a couple 5+ pointers that were pretty nearby, and was visiting a client in jail one day when the Calaveras Fault slipped pretty good.  That wing of the jail shook because it was on the fault and perfectly aligned with it.  On the other side, they felt nothing, but I was determined to get out of there.  No way I was waiting to see if that was the foreshock or the whole thing.  I spend a lot of time at the jail, but I'm not dying in one.  Our faults are slip-strike so are generally not as damaging as the thrust faults in LA.  OT is right that the Geyser up near him are the most seismically active place in Cali, maybe the world, and they have 3s every week--they don't even report anything less because the place rumbles all the time.  My dad was involved in geothermal up there for a while.

Since my house was built before 1906 and survived it and Loma Prieta, I feel pretty good about it, but we can build even better for it now.  We'll beef it up if/when we do the remodel and enjoy our good weather (no tornadoes or hurricanes I know of), lack of mosquitoes, and generally amazing way of life. 

Oh, and GregT was in NY--missed his first earthquake.  I texted him and JD (sorry, Emark, I couldn't find your number at the moment) as soon as I heard. 

Reply by dmcker, Mar 29, 2014.

Yeah, even texts weren't getting through for well more than a day from 3/11. Voice, fugettaboudit. Telcos were devastated, though it was easy to watch how the better ones did better. Cloud services were the best way to communicate. Email was irregularly delayed.

Reply by JenniferT, Mar 30, 2014.

I've never experienced an earthquake. Glad to see that you guys are ok and things weren't worse. 

Reply by outthere, Mar 31, 2014.

Jen, most earthquakes are just the ground hiccuping. Big ones come every 50 or 60 years around here so we don't lose any sleep worrying about them. I'm much more fearful of tornados, floods and other natural disasters that occur much more frequently and do not discriminate about who or what gets destroyed.

Fox, I was just up the road from you on that fateful day. I chuckled when you mentioned The Gap on Cherry Ave. Was it 1250 Cherry? My family owned the Chevron Service Station on San Bruno Ave and I-280. We were 3 blocks apart. I bet we used to frequent some of the same lunch spots. Places like Ursula's Gourmet Deli, Village Host Pizza, TGI Fridays, er ahem Carl's Jr? My brother still owns and operates the station which is now re-branded and strictly Fuel/C-Store with no auto service.

Talk about disasters, he lost his home when the PG&E gas line exploded maybe 100' from his front door and destroyed a big chunk of his neighborhood killing 8 people.

Here is a before shot. His house is the 3rd south of Earl on Glenview with the stone driveway. The asphalt patch in the intersection was ground zero.


Here is the after-shot looking at his lot. The second shot is looking at ground zero from in front of his lot.

4 years later some homes have been rebuilt but the eerie reminder of the disaster is still apparent

I'll take an earthquake any day.

Reply by JenniferT, Mar 31, 2014.

Its awful that your brother lost his home. Those pictures are incredible. And timely given that I just read that PG&E expects to face criminal charges for it.  

Reply by EMark, Mar 31, 2014.

OT/Fox, your proximity to each other back in 1989, is worth a chuckle.  And, OT, my heart goes out to your brother.  One of my brothers lives in San Diego, and he was chased out of his house by a brush fire a few years ago.  When he returned, his house was fine, but others in the neighborhood did get hit.

I just went back and read the article from a few days ago about the possibility of criminal charges being filed against PG&E.  Dealing with natural disasters is one thing.  No matter where you live, there is something that you must deal with.  If you live in California, earthquakes are going to happen.  If you live in Indiana, tornadoes are going to happen.  If you live in Florida, hurricanes are going to happen.  However, if negligence causes an entire neighbor hood to blow up, there should be criminal consequences.

Jennifer, I am very surprised that you have not experienced an earthquake.  My recollection is that you live in BC which is clearly a part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.  My guess is that you will have that experience.  Heck,  last summer, my friend in Indianapolis reported that they had one.  When you do experience one, it can range from barely perceptible (you may get a sensation of vertigo) up to an "E Ticket" ride.  I would say that we in Diamond Bar had a "D Ticket" ride the other evening.  I really don't want to have the "E Ticket" one.

And, oh yes, wine did help Mrs. EMark's nerves the other night.

Reply by dmcker, Mar 31, 2014.

Some figures from a true Big One (magnitude >9.0 megathrust, 3min. duration, many aftershocks > 7.0):

  1. Tohoku (northeastern Honshu island) population 2010 = 9,335,636
  2. Tohoku population 2013 = 9,109,167
  3. Total killed = 15,884
  4. Total missing = 2,363
  5. Total injured = 6,147
  6. Collapsed buildings = 127,290
  7. Half-collapsed = 272,788
  8. Partially damaged = 747,989
  9. Estimated damages = ¥25 trillion (approx $300 billion)
  10. Debris swept offshore = 5 million tons
  11. Total area of tsunami inundation = >550sqkm
  12. Previous huge tsunami disasters in Sanriku area of Tohoku (lengthy fiord-like coastline): CE 869, 1611, 1896 (27,000 dead/ 38m+ wave height!), 1933 (3,000 dead)

First 10 stats are courtesy of the Japanese National Police Agency as of 2/10/14, and are if anything conservative.

The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported at the end of the year that 103,600 survivors were still living in temporary housing units in three different prefectures, nearly three years later. From firsthand experience can tell you that there are any number of social and mental health problems issuing merely from this.

The above figures do not even attempt to deal with subsequent deaths, and ongoing health issues and various other damages from the Fukushima meltdown. Nor do they address the effects on the economies of all the prefectures anywhere near Fukushima thanks to exclusion zones, radioactive runoffs and the fact that the farming and fishery economies for that entire region may be permanently damaged--at least for a full generation, since no-one elsewhere in Japan wants to buy their products. Nor the effects on a generation of children who were not let outside to play for a couple of years, who are still highly restricted, and have no safe places to play since, as one small example, all of the playsets in the Fukushima area, wooden or metal, have had to be removed due to fallout issues. Kids are literally afraid to play.

All of this in a country that (except for Fukushima issues) was the most prepared for and accustomed to earthquake damage of any on earth. And from an earthquake in a very remote part of the country (equivalent in some ways of, say, Modoc County, for California--or if you want to focus on coastline, maybe well north from Mendocino).

Below is a picture of Sendai's port shortly after the event. Sendai (city of 1million, one of Japan's 20 largest; largest city in Tohoku) actually did pretty well compared to a lot of the communities further north. Some of those up the mouths of the fiords basically just disappeared into masses of rubble.


Reply by JenniferT, Mar 31, 2014.

None of this is helping me feel better about quakes!  (And the woeful combo of ongoing damage/inadequate response/lack of transparency regarding Fukushima makes me angry, but I digress.) Yes, I do spend a lot of time in BC nowadays but I've really only been here intermittently for the last few years. So I've yet to have the experience. Earthquake preparedness is a big thing here - there are ongoing info sessions, etc. I really should have more of a supply kit and a quake plan myself. The more quiet time there is the more energy builds up between plates. 

I was actually out in beautiful Tofino for my birthday a few years ago and was awoken by the alarm system they have along the coastline. It was pretty loud, and also disturbing since staying in a hotel right on the beach is high on my list of places I don't want to be if there were a tsunami. My response was pretty much just panic, so I ought to learn from that! (Turned out that they were just testing the system and everyone in the area already knew.)   

Reply by outthere, Mar 31, 2014.

When i was a kid we had an air raid siren down the street from me and they used to fire it up the first Friday of every month for testing. Took the thing about 3 minutes to fully wind up and about 10 to stop turning when they shut it off. Doubt if it is still there. Guess I could look it up in Google maps.

Looks like it's a bus stop now but the building housing the siren is still stuck in the trees behind the fence.

Reply by clippingpath, Apr 1, 2014.

I've never experienced an earthquak. God save me.

Reply by dvogler, Apr 1, 2014.

OT, I remember those too.  You described it perfectly!  Ours was high up on a pole on the edge of the school field.  It took quite some time for it to wind down.

Jen's right about the tsunami sirens.  Vancouver Island received a tsunami in 1964 from the Alaska earthquake.  There's a long inlet on the west coast and by the time it barreled up there, it picked up cars and houses all around the shore of Port Alberni.

There's a subduction zone right off the coast of the island and they are predicting a biggy soon.  The more small ones we have, I think theoretically, the better.  I'm not too worried...I just hope I have a glass of wine in hand!

Reply by EMark, Apr 1, 2014.

OK, I'm going to do it.

5.1???    Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy.

Mrs. EMark who spends almost as much time on the USGS site as I spend on Snooth, just reported that there was an 8.0 quake in Northern Chile.

A wimpy 5.1 gave me religion.  8.0 is, what, 1000 times greater?  I cannot image.  Let's hope it hit a relatively unpopulated area.

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