October 30, 2007

No, I'm Not Your SF Bay Area Earthquake Expert

Wouldn't you know it? Just yesterday, I was joking with my wife that the one thing about California I'm missing by being in Colorado this week was the potential for an earthquake. Seriously. It always seems the "interesting" earthquakes take place when we're out of town, so the next time we're traveling, we'll be sure to warn you, as this evening the Bay Area was hit with a 5.6 magnitude event, the strongest in nearly 20 years.

How do you think I found about it? I certainly didn't feel it here in Denver. And nobody called to see if we were okay, as anybody who would care already knew we weren't in the danger zone.

I found out because while thumbing through the referrals to my blog on the Blackberry during some downtime, an odd string of searches from Google started popping up: "recent earthquake in silicon valley", "earthquake hits bay area", "was it an earthquake tonight in sf bay area?" and "sf earthquake tonight" for starters...

That of course got me curious. First, it turns out a note from early March (Yet Another Small Earthquake Hits SF Bay Area) is #2 worldwide in Google for "recent earthquake in Silicon Valley" and #1 for "was it an earthquake tonight in sf bay area?". People from around the Web were looking for answers, hoping I could help.

A few clicks later, and I too was finding out the news. I've talked about earthquakes before on the blog, in December 2006 and June 2006, and I actually see them as a unique bit of California, something to be respected but not feared.

We don't get home until late Monday night, but we don't expect anything to be different. The flat-screen TV better be right where we left it, and the house better be in the same level of disarray we saw when we closed the door Sunday. And maybe the next time there's a good-sized earthquake, I'd like to not find out about it from my Web log statistics.


  1. It was a needed reminder that yes - there are earthquakes around these parts. Personally it was the strongest one since I moved to the bay area in 1999 (therefore, I wasn't around for Loma Prieta or Northridge).

    While nothing fell down at our place in san mateo, it was enough shaking that I said "It's an earthquake!" to my wife, and it went on long enough that we started asking, what do we do? And not having any immediate answers.

    I really need to revisit our earthquake emergency stuff that I think is in the garage - hasn't been updated since we moved last year :|

  2. Webomatica, while we missed this one, being a thousand miles away or so, the strongest earthquakes I've felt were when I lived in Berkeley in 1999 and one in Palo Alto in 2002.

    The Berkeley quake measured around 5, and sounded like a freight train was coming. If I remember correctly, the one I felt in Palo Alto in 2002 was centered nearer San Jose and took place during the Sharks game!

    I've yet to see an earthquake do any real damage though. Just startling or amusement. There's always a feeling of "is this going to get stronger?" or "is this a foreshock and more are coming?" Usually the answer is no.

  3. I was in the '89 one when I was living in the Marina, and it was one of the worst experiences in my life.

    Last night I happened to be on the 6th floor of a downtown SJ loft, and I felt this thing for about 4-5 seconds.

    And I must say that it took me about a minute or two to stop shaking--the big ones don't come 'round often enough for you to become acclimated.

    Yep, better get your preparedness together, but you can never tell where you're going to be when the big one comes.

    I'm all set at home, and in my car, but last night I just happened to take the bus to my friend's place. If something really bad had happened, I would've been s*** outta luck.