April 18, 2008

I felt the earth move under my feet

With apologies to Carol King, this wasn't any feeling due to a near terminal adolescent infatuation with someone.

A few minutes ago we had some sort of earth tremor. The entire Dope Manor was swaying back and forth as if it were being rocked by some unseen hand. And believe me, it was a VERY unsettling feeling.

Various things that are suspended in my room (Baccarat crystal chandeliers, etc.) were swaying back and forth. My first reaction was that the foundation of the house was caving in. But the next moment I realized that if it was the foundation, it wouldn't be rocking back and forth, it would be depositing me (and the house) in the basement.

After maybe three minutes, the motion stopped just as subtly as it had begun.

It was as if you were on a gently rocking boat, which isn't by itself unpleasant. But when it's your entire house that's doing the rocking.... it's a bit unnerving.

This happened at 4:37 a.m. today (Friday) according to my clock.

We sit relatively close to the New Madrid fault, named for a town in Missouri that must be on top of it or something, and it's a fairly major fault and has been active in the past. Geologists say that it is capable of producing some major shake, rattles, and rolls.

As a matter of fact, I learned here that it actually produced three major quakes in 1811 and 1812 near New Madrid (so THAT'S where it got the name.)
They are among the Great earthquakes of known history, affecting the topography more than any other earthquake on the North American continent. Judging from their effects, they were of a magnitude of 8.0 or higher on the Richter Scale. They were felt over the entire United States outside of the Pacific coast. Large areas sank into the earth, new lakes were formed, the course of the Mississippi River was changed, and forests were destroyed over an area of 150,000 acres. Many houses at New Madrid were thrown down. "Houses, gardens, and fields were swallowed up" one source notes. But fatalities and damage were low, because the area was sparsely settled then.

Sounds very intense, to say the least. New Madrid, MO is 350 miles as the crow flies from the Quad Cities.


Of course most sane people were probably sound asleep at the time and oblivious, but did anyone else happen to notice it?

Weird, wild stuff.

**UPDATE**

This just came out from the A.P. minutes ago:
5.4 earthquake rocks Illinois; also felt in Indiana
3 minutes ago

WEST SALEM, Ill. (AP) — A 5.4 earthquake in Illinois has rocked people awake as far away as Indiana, surprising residents unaccustomed to such a large temblor in the Midwest.

The quake just before 4:37 a.m. was centered 6 miles from West Salem, Ill., and 66 miles from Evansville, Ind.

There were no immediate reports of injuries.


West Salem, IL is 250 miles straight line distance from the Q.C.s.

10 Comments:

At 4/18/2008 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, felt it here in South Bend Indiana, we actually were going to run outside, we knew it was an earth quake, we were already awake.

 
At 4/18/2008 6:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

felt it here, too, in Beloit, WI (WI and IL border). I saw reports that it was even felt in Madison and Milwaukee, another 50 miles north and another 70 or so miles north-east.

 
At 4/18/2008 6:53 AM, Blogger Dave Barrett said...

I also felt it here in Moline. It is amazing that it was still that strong 250 miles from the epicenter. I guess that is because we are sitting on top of so much soil rather than being close to bedrock as they are in California. That is why quakes centered in New Madrid, Missouri were (and will be) felt so far away.

 
At 4/18/2008 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah right you felt it. I was outside at that time and you could feel nothing. You always want to act like it is all about you.
What a crock.

 
At 4/18/2008 11:14 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Dope, Springfield is a little over 100 miles from West Salem, and let me tell you, I was wide awake around 4:37 this morning.

 
At 4/19/2008 2:12 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Dave,
You're correct mostly. I heard some earthquake expert on the News Hour explain that the midwest sits on harder bedrock than say, the west coast, and so the force of earthquakes are felt in a wider area and further away. (this one was felt as far as Atlanta)

He also explained that the quake itself only lasted about 15-20 seconds. It seemed much longer to me. But he then said that softer or deeper soil sometimes amplifies the shock waves and so it can last much longer in certain areas.

It truly is much like a ripple in a pond, only the various types and densities of the soil affect how the ripples spread.

Another question that I found of interest was when they asked if there wouldn't be another quake now for a long time, or if they usually occur in groups or what.

He said that the New Madrid fault was much different than the faults in California because the faults there were where two tectonic plates were moving against each other.

Since they can measure how fast the plates are moving, they can have a rough idea of when quakes might occur. So if the plates are moving an inch a year, they might know that after 6 inches of movement, there's usually a quake.

But the New Madrid fault isn't like that, so it's more difficult to predict.

He said they generally think that the New Madrid fault might produce a strong earthquake every 500 years, and since the last series of very powerful quakes there was in 1811 and 1812, they don't expect a major quake for a hundred years or more.

But just the same, I'm not sure I'd be investing in hi-rises in New Madrid.

As an aside, I heard a description of what it was like from an air traffic controller at O'Hare that I thought was good.

He said it felt like you were on the end of a fishing pole.

That's really how it felt as everything gently, but rather quickly, bobbed up and down.

 
At 4/19/2008 2:25 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon,

You were supposedly standing outside at 4:30 in the morning, couldn't feel a 5.4 earthquake, and you're calling me (and a few million others who felt it) liars?

OKaaaaaaaaayy....

First of all, you should give up window peeking, and secondly, lay off the sauce. It makes you even uglier and tends to cause you to be willing to make an ass out of yourself here in front of everyone.

If you're staggering around outside at that hour drunk on your face (probably tripping over everything and waking the neighbors) your world is always pitching and heaving.

Is it really a surprise you couldn't detect an earthquake? How would you tell the difference?

And senator, I know you're pissed and jealous that people are talking about an earthquake because you desperately want "it" to be about you, but honestly, nobody cares.

We'll just wait until you do something dumb. You're about due.

Otherwise, as it appears you've finally started figuring out, people are sick of hearing your nonsense and no one cares.

A politician busy helping out those with piles of money and power while spouting BS to make it appear they're doing it for the "little guy", isn't news.

It's just depressing.

 
At 4/19/2008 2:27 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Scott,
I've been wanting to hear how it was down in Springfield. Obviously you were much closer to the epicenter than the Quad Cities.

What was it like? Did anything fall off shelves, etc?

It was pretty gentle around here, just enough to cause everything hanging to sway an inch or so.

 
At 4/19/2008 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is that you and Dave Barrett (another liar) are the only people in our area that felt the shock? Fishy for sure?

 
At 4/20/2008 3:41 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, asshat, you're right.

No one felt it, because you didn't, therefore no body could have. We're all making it up. Why? Who knows? Why would we?

Just because we love to lie I guess.

One question for you though... why are you the single most miserable dumb-ass on the planet?

 

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