I Survived My First Earthquake!

San Francisco 4.4 Earthquake

Okay… Technically it wasn’t my first earthquake. And… “survived” may be a little dramatic… But it was a little scary for someone like me who isn’t used to earthquakes. I have lived in San Francisco two months shy of a year now. According to EarthQuakeTrack.com there have been 386 earthquakes in the San Francisco Bay Area in the last 365 days.¹ª But none of them have been stronger than magnitude 2.2 until the other day. Apparently, a 2.2 earthquake can’t be felt on the surface if it is deep enough. I didn’t know that. But I felt the magnitude 4.4 earthquake that made my building wobble like an old rocking chair at 2:30 am on Tuesday morning.

According to The Sun (a UK news group): “The US Geological Survey (USGS) said the quake’s epicenter was two miles from Berkeley, California, with a preliminary depth of eight miles. The city – like many major cities in California – sits on the deadly so-called ‘Ring of Fire’ fault line.”

The Ring of Fire & Hayward Fault

I read that and thought, Ooh! Ring of Fire! That sounds scary. I wonder what that is? So I looked it up and remembered that I learned about that thing in Middle School. Funny the things we forget about as we get older. The Ring of Fire fault line is apparently the word’s largest fault line that is also full of thousands of active volcanoes. It runs down the western coast of the Americas, across the Pacific and up through New Zealand, Indonesia and Japan.¹ But this earth quake was not caused by the Ring of Fire fault line. It was the Hayward fault which, according to the Las Angeles Times, is “one of the most feared in the Bay Area” because it “could produce a magnitude 7 or greater earthquake and is directly underneath heavily populated areas.”²ª

I’m not going to lie. This earthquake gave me a good scare. It didn’t seem to bother those who grew up here. Although, my roommate did grab his house shoes and dash out the house. Coming back in to check on everyone else after the rumbling stopped. (It’s much funnier when he tells it.)

I was up watching a movie when the earthquake hit. When the rumbling first started it sounded like someone stomping on the ceiling. Then the ceiling began to shake and the walls started swaying. It was pretty cool and pretty scary all at the same time. It lasted for about a minute. But it felt like it was much longer than that. One of the neighbors’ panicked screaming could be heard after the rumbling and shaking stopped.

But it seems, according to all the news reports I have read anyways, that no injuries, death or damage has been reported. According to the experts, this was just a little shake that was just a little bigger than the other 385 earthquakes the San Francisco Bay Area has experience in the last 365 days. Many experts also seem to think that all of these small quakes are only the beginning of a very large earthquake they say is soon to come and are already calling “The Big One.”

All the California natives I know out here talk about it like it’s no big deal. “Yeah. You know we’re due for a big one soon,” I hear all the time in the most nonchalant tone. Just another day in California. I’m starting to miss the humid and hot days of Texas where mosquitoes are more of a threat than earthquakes. LOL