Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake

And I Thought It Was My Hardboiled Eggs

The earthquake in Virginia was felt all the way up the Eastern Coast, including here in New Jersey.

I was here, sitting at the computer when it hit, just before 2 PM, and I thought that either the hardboiled eggs I was was cooking on the stove and exploded in the pan, or that my cats in the sunroom had toppled something or gotten into a scuffle.

There was a kind of rumbling noise that lasted at most 2 seconds here.  DJ, the kitty who was sitting on my lap leapt off and sat rather startled on the floor. As I looked down the hall, I saw Reggie also sitting on the cedar chest in high alert. That kind of clued me that it wasn't cat activity, because they were not looking anywhere that the other cats might be.

I checked the eggs to find that the water had boiled low, but not enough to make the eggs rattle about or explode. It was only later that I found out the earthquake had struck and that explained the noise.

After I thought about it for a while, I realized that shortly before that, Reggie, my black kitty had been sitting at my feet meowing and meowing. I tried petting him and playing with him, but he would not be soothed. I now suspect he was trying to tell me that the quake was about to strike. They do say some animals are very sensitive and that the earth itself gives off vibrations before an earthquake, so I am now claiming he was trying to tell me something was wrong. Bless his little furry face.

The horses were not at all upset when I went out a bit later, so aside from the noise, I don't think there was much action here.

Apparently, the bedrock on the East Coast is more solid than on the West Coast because it has rarely been shaken by quakes, so the vibrations travel farther.  This theory is interesting to me because other areas of New Jersey--not too far away--were rocked far longer and with much more vibration than I was. My land lies above an aqufer, as I have noted before. There is a deep layer of sand not too far below the surface and below that rock layers and large underground water pockets. There is also an underground waterway of sorts. What I suspect is that much of the quake was absorbed into those layers of sands and water, kind of "cushioning" any more powerful vibrations.

We are not prone to earthquakes around here, so the big worry is always whether even a relatively minor quake will cause damage to any structures not built to withstand the shaking. I am sad to report that the Washington Monument did suffer some cracks in its upper stone work and will be closed "indefinitely" until assessment and repairs can be made.

Some of my online friends reported things knocked off shelves, but that seems to be about all. West Coast readers will, perhaps scoff at the "big deal" we are making here of the quake, but it is such a rare event on this side of the country that it does stir up a lot of talk.

Now, we are waiting for a hurricane.  I am a little concerned about that because Irene's course has changed and it's going to hit New England after passing very close to the New Jersey coastline on its way towards land. While I am inland, the rotating winds on the outside of the storm are often some of the worst, so I am well within that strike area. The forecast is calling for a "Nor'easter" which means heavy rain and wind coming from the rotating winds. Rivers and streams around here are already pretty close to flood stage as it is, so the 6"-9" of rain possible from this storm will not be welcome.

Again, my land is high enough not to flood, but tree damage is a serious threat.

I am not looking forward to early Sunday/late Saturday at all. *sigh*

5 comments:

  1. I was on L.I. yesterday and didn't feel anything. But after I heard from my nephew in Queens who said the building was shaking and the cabinets were dancing around I was sort of not looking forward to crossing over the Throgs Neck Bridge. Obviously I did and nothing happened. Guess it was just a little shake and bake to add some excitement to the day. Animals sure do know ahead of time what's coming. I think if I lived on the west coast I'd have a few cats and dogs around as barometers.

    Maybe we can cross our fingers and the storm will blow out to sea...

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  2. My house shook hard enough to make me think it was going to fall down. I grabbed the kids and ran outside, my cat never even bothered to wake up from his nap on the couch. Useless animal!

    *Fingers crossed* that Irene takes a detour, but I'm not banking on it. All we really need to do is bring in the patio furniture and fill up extra water tubs in case the power goes out. I'll probably stock up on wine, too... to help with riding out the storm on Sunday! *G*

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  3. Glad the earthquake wasn't a big event for you - hold on tight for the hurricane - hope all will be well.

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  4. Once you experience an earthquake, every rumbling truck has the imagined potential to be the next temblor.

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  5. Gosh. I will think of you. I have not heard of the Earthquake on the news...

    Shannon, I admire your dedication to your cat HAHAHAHA! Is it the one in your photo?

    I hope you and the boys will be safe during teh hurricane.

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