my first earthquake!

epicenter: New Bedford, Massachusetts

I felt my first earthquake at 9:10 am this morning! It was only magnitude 4.2 and the depth was 12 miles but it was enough to get my attention. We live in the western protrusion of the second blue ring on the map. Tim slept through it. An exciting start to the day for me.

Edit: The magnitude has been recalculated to 3.6.

36 thoughts on “my first earthquake!”

  1. Wow, very exciting for sure! I have a brother in Eureka California, which is close to the San Andreas Fault. He has become accustom to the earthquakes in that region. I asked him recently if the earthquakes knock items from the shelves and he said that those deeper quakes, over water, are not as destructive as the ones on land. That, said, of course, there is the potential, with a great enough magnitude, for tsunamis to form.

    I’m not sure why, because I grew up in the Midwest, but these inexorable walls of water are my single greatest fear in terms of natural disaster. The thought of getting caught in one of these monsters is horrifying. And I’m not a bad swimmer, ha.

    Glad that you found it interesting and not harrowing. All the best to you and yours.

    1. Thanks, James! Tsunamis are right up there on my top fears list. I suppose it doesn’t help that I have a geologist for a sister who is delighted to shock me with details of possible earthquake and landslide triggered tsunami scenarios here on the east coast. Being a good swimmer would be of little value I’m afraid. On the whole, though, when I tune her out, I feel pretty safe here in this little spot on the planet. I’d be a nervous wreck living where earthquakes were common. Hope your brother stays safe.

  2. I enjoyed your celebration of your first earthquake, Barbara. Our first EQs are always memorable, and hopefully small and exciting, like yours. I didn’t grow up with EQs, as a Mid-westerner, but when I move to the Bay Area in Calif., I experienced many. We had the big one in 1989, which was devastating; and I had many before and have experienced many since. I never have gotten used to them. I am super sensitive to the floor moving now, wherever I am, and if it is not still I leave the building. I’m so glad yours was a new but easy experience.

    1. I was beginning to think it would never happen to me. In the 2011 earthquake near Washington DC some people up here in Connecticut felt it, but I didn’t. You’re right, Jet, that was more than enough to satisfy my curiosity and I hope it never happens again! I remember that big one in California in 1989. My parents and aunt and uncle had just returned from a cross-country trip and had enjoyed their time in California wine country. They saw a destroyed bridge on the TV news they had just been on a few weeks earlier. I can imagine you must be very sensitive to the floor moving after having been through it so many times. It’s unsettling not standing on a firm foundation. Stay safe out there, my friend!

  3. Wow. Excitement. I have felt an earthquake here in Arkansas twice over the years. There is a fault in the Northeast corner of this state. We are about 120 miles South of that fault. It does get a person’s attention.

    1. I guess if all it does is get our attention and cause a bit of excitement we’re lucky. New Bedford is about 80 miles from us. I don’t know what fault lines we have around here, maybe I should look into that. Never a dull moment this year…

  4. I’m so happy you’re getting to discover and experience so many new things right at home. You can go the website of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and report your experience at Did You Feel It. (I guess I can’t post links here since I just tried and it didn’t post).

    1. Thanks for the link, Susan. Comments with links go to spam just in case someone tries to post a malicious one. But I check my spam queue regularly to let the friendly links out. πŸ™‚ Now they’re saying the quake’s magnitude was 3.6 — it’s getting less impressive as time goes on.

    1. Thank you, Ally. So sorry your first one was too exciting. I’ll accept your congratulations, though, because this one was exciting enough to satisfy my curiosity.

  5. When I lived in Northern California I felt two earthquakes, neither of which were big, but still attention-getting. During the same period, my mother in Ohio called to tell me that there had been a fairly big one there! I’m glad you are fine. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks, Timi! I lived in Greece for a couple of years in the 1970s when I was a teen. I felt sure I would experience one while I was there but never did. Does Ohio get many earthquakes? Hope you’re keeping well and enjoying that sweet little granddaughter. πŸ™‚

  6. Glad to hear your safe and sound, Barbara, I hadn’t heard about it yet. I was at work in Delaware back in 2011 when Virginia had the 5.8 quake. I’ll never forget seeing the long corridor’s floor rolling in waves while I tried to run out of the building.

    1. Yikes! Donna, that sounds so terrifying! This little quake shook the house but no rolling floors. We live very close to a small airport which has an Army National Guard maintenance station and the Black Hawk helicopters flying overhead shake our walls just as much. But there was no helicopter this time.

  7. I’m glad you were not at the epicenter, and that it was a relatively mild one. I grew up in Northern California and so was used to them but it still startles you. Several years ago we had one here in Illinois~that DID startle us!

    1. It was rather startling! I guess they can happen just about anywhere and when least expected. Last night on the news they showed some buildings in New Bedford had suffered structural damage and the Red Cross had to help people find other places to stay.

  8. Congratulations. I remember my first one. I was fitting outside, but didn’t feel anything – but remember viewing people opening their front doors to look what was happening outside.

    1. Thanks, Frank. I wasn’t sure what it was until they mentioned it on the news. Some of our neighbors felt it and some slept through it, like my husband, or didn’t notice it at all.

  9. Yikes!! I’ve felt some tremors here over the years, but I think I was lucky — in bed, where I didn’t have to fret over what to do! The New Madrid Fault Line is too close for comfort.

    1. I hadn’t heard of the New Madrid Fault Line so I looked it up. It does look too close for comfort. It’s kind of unsettling to realize that the continents have never stopped shifting around and that anything is possible. Our safety is pretty precarious!

  10. My goodness! Look at all the excitement you’ve been having! What a first for you. I have never ever experienced an earthquake. I worry about my daughter having a serious one out in Oregon, but never think of them happening on the East Coast. Glad you were safe.

    1. It just goes to show, we can never know anything for sure. An earthquake was the last thing I expected to happen that morning. I can see why you would be worried about your daughter. Has she felt any mild ones yet? I imagine the building codes out there try to take the quake possibility into account.

  11. Well that almost made the tea slosh out of your cup I’ll bet! We had one in August and it was near Lake Erie Metropark … I did not feel it here as that park is a good 15 miles from my house. The 3.2 magnitude earthquake was brief but they said there might be aftershocks, so the next day I wanted to go to that park to see how the water lotuses were and I hurried over each of the overlooks, just in case another tremor sent me into the drink! We had one a few years ago and I felt the rumble under my feet – it was strange and I turned on the news and people were already calling in to the radio station about it – it was just a few months after a meteorite struck and many people (including me) felt the impact of each. In both instances my side screen door rattled and it was dark and I worried someone was at the door.

    1. lol — I think I was done with my tea when it struck, but that would have been freaky to see. πŸ™‚ I have no idea what these magnitude numbers mean but apparently ours was a minor quake, about 30,000 of these a year, worldwide. So apparently not a big deal. The possibilities that went through my mind were a helicopter overhead, but there was none, the landscaping crew arriving and unloading their equipment, but nothing outside, the neighbors hauling a heavy piece of furniture up their stairs and dropping it… I decided the neighbors must have been up to something very unusual until I heard about the quake on the TV. (They interrupted regular programming.) I can see why you thought someone was rattling your door. The mind doesn’t think about an earthquake when it is so “mild.”

      1. That’s good, because I think it might have sloshed out a little. πŸ™‚ I was just sitting here at the kitchen table where the laptop is, but my feet were planted on the kitchen floor and I felt that rumble … both our earthquakes were considered minor, so I can just imagine how a big earthquake rolling would feel. When we had the meteor crash, it made a real thud – and it didn’t crash anywhere near me, many miles away. But the storm door rattled – it was already dark (Winter) and yes it scared me as I thought someone was trying the door. It didn’t do that to the front door … it is newer. Note to self: perhaps think about a new storm door down the road. I have steel doors on both doors, with deadbolts (hopefully enough to thwart a burglar).

        1. Wow, I’ve never heard a meteor crash! But sometime in the 1990s I heard a small jet crash in the cove less than a mile from here. I think the water muffled the sound of the thud somewhat. My son and I were the only ones home at the time and he walked down to investigate. It crashed trying to land at the airport. Sometimes I think it was a dumb idea to buy a home so close to an airport. In September a small plane crashed into the living room of a house on the other side of the airport and the homeowner was able to safely escape from his bedroom window. He thought someone was trying to break into his house which is why he climbed out the window. Imagine his shock when he saw the plane sticking out of his roof! It’s a good thing he had gone to bed and wasn’t still sitting on his couch. Phew!

          1. I just went to find an article on the meteor crash and will put it below. For some reason, I cannot see the video – perhaps my “Flash” is not working – I am not sure, but there are several photos and short videos of the meteor as it streaked through the sky. Someone caught it on their home video surveillance equipment. The next day people knew the general area where the crash happened and nearby water was frozen and parts of the meteorite “traveled” and landed onto the water. Some people collected meteor pieces and a few kept them, some sold the pieces online, I believe on eBay. That is scary about the airport and living so close. My house is in a flight pattern for Detroit Metro airport. We had a very serious airplane crash on August 16, 1977 – all passengers aboard were killed except a young child. The plane crashed into an expressway, a car rental agency and the debris field encompassed a large area. Every year they have a small memorial for relatives of Northwest Flight 255. I’ll send the meteor video separately as it will go to SPAM as it is a link.

          2. Wow! That was quite a flash of light! So sad about the airplane crash — I wonder what became of the young child who survived.

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