Friday, July 20, 2007

Earthquake Again!

Just a quick note about our local earthquake, which occurred at 4:42 am today and registered 4.2 on the Richter scale. (How's that for economy of digits?) It woke me, but Otto was already standing next to the bed (don't ask!). To me, it felt like one big jerk - somewhat like having a rug pulled out from under one. Otto felt a second or two of shaking, but both of us were most conscious of the noise of falling things. A VERY noisy earthquake. A quick check of the house showed a few framed photos on the floor where they had fallen from bookcases, an open door on the kitchen oven and an open door on a shower stall. By light of day, we also found that a heavy glass vase in our bedroom had fallen unbroken into the open suitcase that Otto was still in the process of unpacking. The most time-consuming thing to re-sort will be the piles of folders that fell over in Otto's office, scattering papers everywhere.

This was a very small earthquake on the Hayward fault, 3.6 miles under the Montclair district. One geologist pointed out that that it had only 1/3200 of the power of the the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. Most of the damage, erratically scattered over the area, was minor, and no one was killed or injured. This was partly due the early hour at which the quake happened. If our local Safeway (at Shattuck and Rose) had been open, the story might have been different, since four large high window panels broke and rained glass directly down on the checkout counters - where Otto had been standing in line just eight hours earlier. Lucky for everyone.

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