This morning’s 6.1 quake was the strongest I’ve felt in my 12 years living in Oakland. More than the usual light shakers and tremblers, this lasted longer: 7-8 seconds of movement, and was more intense. The house moved sideways and back, over and over, as if someone was trying to push it in one direction, only to have it roll back; like trying to push a house onto a trailer. The dogs went crazy, startled awake in the dark, seeing nothing they ran to doors, jumped up on beds to gain vantage, to protect us. But they were scared. The first response: comforting them, all the while wondering if a bigger one would follow this set of small waves.
This kind of movement is consistent with my last post about Earthquake readiness. For some quakes along the East Bay faults, like our Hayward Fault, seismic energy runs horizontally, due to the bedrock substrates- so say geologists. Many places along the SF San Andreas Fault have a type of bedrock that transports shock waves vertically, so you would fall trying to walk during a tremor. For many quakes in the East Bay, you would sway from the side to side movement.
The media is telling us this maybe the first wave, the ‘sleeper hit’ that preludes the ‘big one’ predicted to occur within a week. Ha! Hard to say if this is meaningful geologic logic, or media sensationalism. Unfortunately, it is true that many of the East Bay faults, like the Hayward Fault, are overdue for a large release; it’s been over 130 years since the last one on this fault line. So I welcome these little shimmies, shakes, and shudders, and I hope that we have enough small tremors and quakes to add up to a significant release of energy- with a minimum of harm to people and property, of course.
This kind of activity always makes us think of the emergency plans we are supposed to all have in place in CA. We do the usual now; check emergency kits: flashlights, batteries, candles, fresh water, radios, blankets, propane tanks, emergency shut off gas valves and wrenches. We remind ourselves of the first contacts on the family/friends call list, posted inside the pantry, and the first call or text we hope to get the opportunity to make, before cell tower circuits overload and shut down.
The first call/text you make in a disaster of any kind- is an important topic. Judging from past catastrophes, time is always a factor. With only cell phones and no land lines in most homes these days- options are further limited and timed. If you can only make one call, to whom should it be? Mos def someone who will help get the word out to everyone in your clan, yes? We decided that it should be someone fairly savvy with texting. And if local cell towers are damaged, each one of us in our house needs one person outside the area whom we can mutually reach, in case we cannot reach each other. They say that calls outside the area can be easier to make than call across the Bay- if local cell towers are down.
For the first time, today, we talked about what we should say: if you only have a few seconds; tell your condition and location. Something like “We’re on the 880 between San Jose and Oakland, caught in traffic, but fine,” works. Since Boy beast works in SF and I work in Oakland, the status of a bridge can mean everything, as we all know.
Speaking of bridges, with our new retrofitted Bay Bridge, I am counting on a better outcome with this bridge, than with the last one during the big ’89 Bay quake the Loma Prieta. So, how does one go about ‘retrofitting’ a bridge with shears, baffles, and shock absorbers to make it ready for action for “the big one”? Here is a glimpse of the engineering and construction that took place over the last 11 years, to earthquake retrofit the new Bay Bridge linking SF and Oakland. I think it’s kinda cool. Just click on the map to enlarge. Source: BA News Group & CalTrans.