Earthquake in Bay Area

CK: must've felt like "Sen-surround" while watching Ch7 news.

Longden (in Agoura Hills, So Calif...where geologic studies indicate that I'm about an inch closer to Chai Cutlery every 100 years or so)
I was in Petalum during the earthquake in '89. What an eye opening experience. It was awful. I was in one of those old style phone booths with a sliding door talking to my wife who was moving in our new house back in Virginia with our small children. When the quake started, the phone booth starting shaking and I thought the guy in the other booth was acting weird or something until I heard someone scream "Earthquake" and everyone ran out of the building. When I told my wife that there was an earthquake, she thought I was kidding and I couldn't get the *$#^$ door to open so I just sat there hoping I wasn't going to topple over until the shaking stopped.

Up until then I had only heard about earthquakes....I hope I never experience another.


As a Native Californian, I feel I should let you posters in on a secret: earthquakes are highly overrated in terms of danger to life and limb. This is normally kept a secret, to avoid excess immigration to the Golden State, but it is something every NC learns in childhood.

Last night's quake was the lead story on every newscast. Damage? You won't believe this, but damage was reported as one bookcase tipped over in San Rafael. I am serious. This is a quote, not a joke.

I once had the good fortune to have an earthquake happen during a frisbee game. Recognizing the moment of the century, I told my friend to go long. He did, I put it in his hands, but he missed. Damn, what an effort though. His comment, "Well, the ground WAS moving."

Keep watching out for those killer quakes. heh heh heh Walt
You betcha. I'd much rather live in earthquake country than hurricane country.
Here in Sausalito it was quite a jolt. When you work in a building standing on concrete poles on landfill, it really makes you think about it.

Some interesting links can be found here:

The one from yesterday had its epicenter in the St. Andreas Fault, close to Bolinas. It originated four miles deep and this is conisdered as shallow. What a major earthquake (7.3) in this fault can do to San Francisco is shown on this map

In May 2000 there is going to be a grand conjuction (lining up of planets) and all hell is supposed to break loose. 5.0 earthquakes will be minor in comparison. There is supposed to be earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, polar ice melting, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, torrential rain... oh wait, we already have all that

I don't believe the conjuction will do any damage. For one the planets are supposed to line up on the other side of the sun. And when Venus is close it exerts more gravitational pull on us than all other planets combined (minus the sun of course).

Kodiak PA,

For Kodiak being on the Pac-Rim fire ring I would think you would experience more than a few earthquakes. We sure get a lot here in Anchorage. About one every month or two that can be felt.


When my wife was going to college she took a geology course and her professor told the class that Anchorage is overdue for a big one, as in 7.0 or bigger. Hang on

"A knifeless man is a lifeless man"
-Nordic proverb

i remember in high school there was an alignment, i don't know if it was three planets or what. but our history teacher in our catholic school was ranting on and on about how it would pull at the earth and cause all kinds of bad things to happen. lucky for me my brother was up at Ithaca College. they had a program going with Syracuse. anyway, he was working on some computer-math thingamajig with Carl Sagan. i sent him a letter and he read it to Sagan thinking he would get a hoot out of it. Sagan wrote me back and in the letter insisted i read it in front of the history class. well, it was a fun class for me from then on; you should never one-up a catholic high history teacher, but then again he was out of his league. and Sagan was right, nothing happened except some people "got religion." Aside: on the day the alignment happened, a kitten that my family ended up adopting was born. funny enough, but right on her neck were three round circles of fur-it was kind of funny looking-but my dad said she was our little cosmic kitty. i think that was the only cat i ever liked, mostly because she clawed up a neighbor's dobe when it sniffed her once. and only once. geez, did i get off the subject again!
Gregg, Trapped in a glass booth during an Earthquake? That sounds like someone’s worst nightmare, I think. Glad you were all right.

Dr. Welsh, I guess that there wasn't a lot of damage out in Orinda back in '89. Still, I am surprised you don't have your own horror stories from that day because of treating victims.

Even if it feels small to you, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t devastation all around you. I learned that first hand at 5:04 PM that day. I was living in Oakland, only three blocks from the 880. Our building barely shook from the quake; we felt bigger shocks from the freeway collapsing. The footage on the evening news of people digging through the rubble hoping to find survivors takes me right back to the days and nights that followed.

StJames; I remember that day well. There was a significant baseball game in SF. As I was leaving the Pleasanton Kaiser facility, I pulled out onto the street, and suddenly it felt like the wheels were loose. I pulled off into the large shopping mall across the street, and got out to look at my car. Another driver did the same, each of us looking at our perfectly normal cars in perplexity, until another tremor came. We then looked at each other in understanding. He took off, and I watched the Pleasanton facility. A few people came out and stood around for five minutes or so. They then went back in, and I hit the freeway to go to my friends' place. I made it without incident, and we were wondering why the game wasn't on, then came some shots of the Oakland Bay Bridge with some spans down. I then realized that it was worse than I had thought.

I called the large Walnut Creek facility Emergency Dept., where I then worked, and asked if I should come in. I was told that it was pretty much business as usual, and they weren't activating their disaster plan. Very few injuries showed up.

One thing that people don't realize is that the Richter scale is logarhythmic. However, it is 30 times more or less between the numbers. Thus, a earthquake of 5 will have 1/30 the energy of one rated at 6. Another way of putting this is that an earthquake of 7 will have 900 times the energy of one rated at 5 (30 x 30). So small changes in numbers mean large energy changes.

Yours until the big one (it is NOT too late to leave California. heh heh heh) Walt
Dr. Welsh, glad to hear the effects weren’t too bad for you. It is always amazing how one block will be devastated, and another blocks away will not even report a disruption in services. I lived near Mt. Diablo for a time in my youth, about as solid a piece of earth in the Bay Area I suppose, but right now am living near the Pan Handle, solid in the deep red.

I guess that all us California kids know the Richter scale as well as the kids in Florida knows all the Hurricane names for the last ten seasons. But satellite photography won’t tell you when the next tremor is coming, so no early warning sirens here in the Golden State.

I don't plan on leaving the state, and I hate to be too far from the Pacific. If and when I ever do, it is Yukon Ho!

Stay safe, be ready, and help each other out.

Oh, all right. I was a grad student at Lawrence Livermore National Labs in '89. Out in Livermore, the earthquake didn't feel like all that much. It wasn't until we went back to our offices and turned on the radio that we realized we were nowhere near the epicenter, and that things weren't good. The radio stations from SF were off the air.

Pretty eerie, being in the middle of a nuclear weapons facility, and feeling like you're cut off from civilization. Of course, Livermore always felt like it was cut off from civilization.
My Dad and I built a concrete fish pond in '86. The '89 earthquake broke it, and no mas agua, the fish died...down in Paso Robles. That's the ain't a yearly tornado or hurricane. Afraid of earthquakes? Afraid of nature? Then leave, pronto...hasta la bye bye