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Friday, April 18, 2008

Peter's Files Experiences of The Illinois Earthquake on 4/18/08


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I'm hoping that the lack of information about injuries and deaths so far is a sign that the earthquake early this morning resulted in none.

An Earthquake hit the State of Illinois according to the USGS at 4:36 Central Standard time with an Epicenter in far downstate Illinois with a Magnitude of 5.2 (revised at 10:51) on the Richter Scale.

At the time I was having trouble sleeping. This is not unusual. Chronic pain sufferers endure sleep problems. So I was awake when I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise. Suddenly, I had this odd sensation like someone else had entered the room from behind me, which happened to be SSSE the direction of the quake's epicenter from my home in Chicago.

The lights were off in my bedroom so I turned them on, but no one was there.

Suddenly there was an odd feeling of pressure, as if our 1880 frame house was feeling a strong breeze.

I then realized the pressure had a rhythmic quality and I had trouble figuring out what it was for perhaps a second and then it hit me, the odds were strong that I was feeling a low magnitude earthquake!

I had a flash sense that it had to be from the Missouri Fault Line - I think that's what it is called - which runs on a line through or just south of Southern Illinois From Missouri to Kentucky or Ohio. CNN probably has the details out by now.

That gave me a flash worry about people who I knew from St. Louis who I knew from Spring Hill College, many of whom I had not seen for 28 years Jim, Bill, Karen, Mary Sue, Carl's family (I think Carl is in Toronto now) - all their families - even some I had seen more recently, like Vinny.

That took me about a microsecond after realizing that it was an earthquake.

In another instant I debated waking the others in the house: was that an increase in the quake's intensity?

Then I felt some actual movement or swaying in the house. The ceiling fan above me had begun to sway just a little and I could feel a bassy vibration through the floor through my socks. Not enough for real swaying of the house, but enough to know that something was there. Kind of like the subway running by underground. Of course, we don't live over the subway, and this was a lot more powerful.

This feeling was probably a component wave of the earthquake as it spread in all directions from either the surface above the origin of the quake, or the actual underground source, but unlike that actual shaking you would feel much closer to the quake, was more like the thump-thump-thump base of the speakers that you might feel through the walls of your dorm from a band in the quad.

But this thump was slow. Earthquakes must have a very low frequency a long distance away. But not too low. There was a vibrato in the thicker vibrations that I felt coming up through the floor. I'm taking a long time to describe something that only took seconds to experience.

No - I stayed put - it seemed that what I was feeling was as much as we were going to feel. This time.

The richter scale is a scale where each digit is geometrically higher than the one above it. So a 6 on the scale is a lot stronger than a 5, and a 7 is a whole lot stronger than a 6. And no one wants to be anywhere near an 8 or 9.

Living in the Beverly Hills neighborhood of Chicago, which is just west of the I-57/I-94 split, that is on the far southwest side, the fact that this quake could be felt here means that it must have been a doozy downstate. Not enough to bring down all the houses, better watch the news to make sure, but let's hope that this is a tension relief earthquake that gets us by for a few decades and is not the precursor to something a lot stronger.

I hate to think like this, but in the buying wood or buying brick house debate, I'm glad I'm living in a wood house right now. They flex better in earthquakes. But it looks like I might just need to check out the fine print in my homeowners insurance right about now.

I predict increased interest in earthquake insurance in the Midwest, if we can get it.

For more blogger's comments on the earthquake go to:

Peter, Chief Editor and Spelling Wrecker
The Peter Files Blog of Comedy, Jokes, Satire, Commentary and Videos

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Blogger Prof. Goldblatt Ph.D. said...

It woke me up 4:47am. Could feel it when I stood up. Wow, got the adrenaline going! Items on shelf were rattling. Well, I guess I lived through the "big" one of 2008.

I woke up to a creaking sound of my house and my bed was shaking for a good solid 20 seconds. It was the most eerie feeling... as if some stranger had entered my room and began gently rocking my bed left to right, silently.


--- Leland Milton Goldblatt, Ph.D. ®
Distinguished Professor


4/18/2008 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Jasmin Creek said...

My best friend, who lives with me woek me up as it was going down. Before and during the earthquake, I was having a dream that my surroundings were shaking. I woke up around 4:36 a.m. I think, and I went back to sleep soon after. A merefew minutes ago there was another one. It was definitely smaller than the first, but less frightening. The first quake scared the hijeebies out of me.

4/18/2008 10:36 AM  

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