All Shook Up

Living on, near and between numerous fault lines in Southern California I got to experience lots of earthquakes. Some of them were barely noticeable. I’d awaken from sleep, wonder why, roll over and sleep again. When I moved out of the city, into the mountains east of San Diego, the experiences were even better.

Some earthquakes don’t do a lot of shaking, but they boom like thunder coming from inside the earth. Others give the world a quick shake as you might shake out a rug, letting dust and dog hair fly. Others make the world rattle, knocking things from shelves and doing damage.

My first earthquake was in 1959. I was in Montana, staying at my grandmother’s, and my Aunt Jo, Uncle Hank, and Aunt Martha were camping at Yellowstone. I wrote about it soon after I began my blog on WordPress. If you want to read the story, you can find it here and here.

Newspaper from the day… 1959


The best was on Easter Sunday, 2010. My friend and I were hiking along Pine Creek which runs along a fault line between the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains. It was a beautiful hike and we had a good time. On our way back, we went through a gate designed to allow horses with riders through and keep cattle in. We kept walking. I heard the gate rattle some twenty feet behind us and I turned. The earth was moving toward us in a wave. We stood still as the earth rose under our feet, settled back in place and continued its rolling motion forward. The trees moved like spectators at a baseball game doing “The Wave.”

When I got home, I looked it up on the USGS site and found it had been a very strong earthquake, 7.2.

We were in the little black circle on the map above. To learn more about this earthquake, you can go here.

Because it was Easter, and businesses in Mexicali, BC, were mostly closed, there was little damage and no real injuries.

I kind of miss them. As long as no one is hurt, they are just fun and very interesting. But I was also in California when the big earthquake happened in Oakland in 1989. It was not even as strong as the Easter earthquake, a mere 6.9, but it was a different type of earthquake, more the shake the stuff out of your rug type. It was classified as “Violent.” It crumpled a bridge.

Collapsed bridge from the Loma Prieta Earthquake

My stepson Ben, who lived in the Bay Area at the time, came down to visit. He was about 10 or so. Both of us had developed a fear of bridges and whenever we had to go under one (on foot) we ran. 🙂

(Featured photo: Cody O’Dog and I on the Pine Creek Trail that VERY Easter Sunday!)

21 thoughts on “All Shook Up

  1. I have experienced a couple of earthquakes in Switzerland, but nothing to compare to yours. One was when I felt the building swaying and heard creaking, but nothing too dangerous to cause collapse. The next was the windows rattling in their frames which was the reaction from a quake in the east of Switzerland. The strongest was when our cellar made a noise and I thought immediately of gas explosion. the dog next door was howling and it seemed it was an earthquake in the depths somewhere. The last big one in Switzerland was the 13th centuary around Basel, so if we are lucky there will be no more in my lifetime.

  2. We get earthquakes here, too, but they are so minor you won’t notice them most of the time. But I don’t envy you one little bit. If there’s one thing I’m happy to NOT have in my life, earthquakes are a big one.

  3. I’ve never experienced an earthquake and am in no rush to do so. I’m fortunate to live in a geologically stable state, but we do have to worry here about tornadoes and, recently, flooding.

  4. Wow, I’ve never experienced seeing the land ripple! That would be something. When I lived on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, I experienced a 6.something quake and everything swayed, kind of felt like your equilibrium was off kilter. Another time, in the same community, we had to evacuate because of a tsunami warning due to an earthquake in Japan. It turned out to be a 2 inch wave. This community had been wiped out by a tsunami following the big Alaska quake in 1964, so they took tsunami warnings seriously. Better safe than sorry. I don’t worry so much about earthquakes here on the prairies, just tornadoes!

    • I was amazed the whole time I lived there at the variety of earthquakes and then the differences between experiences close to or far from the epicenter. We have them here because there is basin and plain action going on, but not a lot and not as strong.

  5. I seem to experience a significant quake about every ten years. The last big one in my neighborhood was the Northridge quake back in ’94, so I guess we’re “overdue”. I ended up handing out bottled water and an old folks community nearby.

  6. I was in Oakland (working at E.B. MUD – East Bay Municipal Utility District) and had been there for a couple of weeks. I came down with the flu and left early. I saw the earthquake on TV when we were trying to watch the World Series. IF I had stayed the weekend into the following week, I would have been one of those cars flattened under the fallen expressway.

    Little whispers in our brain.

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