Posted by Arlo on Jan 9, 2007 under Life of Arlo

USGS Earthquake MapI had a fun wake up call this morning.  After falling asleep at about 4:45am — what can I say; I’m on vacation — Oksana ran in at 6:49am and said, “Arlo, wake up!  It’s an earthquake!”

“Holy crap!” I replied.  I bounced out of bed and stood in the doorway just as the trembling faded away.

Wait, that doesn’t do my reaction justice.

“Holy crap!” I said, not understanding what she said, but reacting only to her tone of voice.  I stumbled out of bed, clad only in my undies, and stood in the bedroom doorway desperately trying to keep my eyelids open.  I may have only imagined the last of the rumbling, or perhaps my conscious mind was pulling up memories of the sensation from the previous 10 seconds of being fully asleep.  Oksana left me there and went to the front door.  It was already over.

I suspect that after most earthquakes, people take a few seconds to wonder “Was that really an earthquake?  Might have been thunder, or maybe an explosion.”  We live in an apartment above the post office, so our first reaction was “Did the freight truck run into building?  Again?”

Oksana was sure it’d been an earthquake, though.  She was in the bathroom when everything on the shelves started rattling around.  Her first thought, of course, was the post office truck, but then our notoriously precarious entertainment center started to wobble in the living room.  She heard all the knickknacks on it rocking madly back and forth.  By the time she woke me up, it was pretty much over.  Fortunately, nothing in our house fell over, down, or off anything.

I wanted to check to see if it had been a earthquake, and the first thing I could think of was to get online.  I knew about the USGS earthquake site and I called it up.  Unfortunately, they update in “near real time” and an update 30 seconds after the shaking ended was an unreasonable expectation.  I thought that the Juneau Empire or Google News might eventually verify it for me, but not for awhile yet.

I was still struggling to keep my eyes open when Oksana went back to getting ready for work.  I began to feel nauseated.  All of a sudden my mouth started watering and I was on the verge of throwing up.  I laid down on the couch, pulled a blanket over me, and promptly fell back asleep.  I have no idea why I felt so sick.  Maybe it was the shaking, or more likely the extremely rapid onset of stress (“Holy crap!”)  Or maybe it was just, you know, morning sickness.

At a more reasonable hour, I got up off the couch and checked again online for some news.  Yep, all three sources confirmed it.  5.6 on the Richter scale, roughly 160 miles northwest of Juneau, and 5.9 miles underground (+ or – 5.5 miles, heh).  Bet Haines and Skagway were bumpy this morning.

I thought about calling Oksana to let her know, but then she listens to the radio at work and they were sure to have had that on the news.  Duh.  The radio.  And the TV.  That’s how I could have quickly confirmed it earlier.  No doubt the morning radio hosts would have been fielding calls right away.

Funny how I defaulted into thinking that the internet would be the best way to get information on an earthquake.