Today in My History

2000:  I Survived Mothers Day
2001:  No entry--in England
2002:  Move Over, Mr. Blackwell
2003:  Lame Duck
2004:  The Bionic Woman
2005:  What Big Teeth You Have
2006 Mothers

2007: With Six Do You Get Egg Roll?
2008:  A Dose of Reality
2009:  Cannibalism
2010:  Our Daughter, the Carpenter
2011:  The Brave Little Tailor!
2012: Now This is Just Silly
2013: Jack Bauer Lives

2014: Why Reading the News Makes Me Cry
2015: Today at Logos
2016: Sunday Stealing
2017: Mothers Day
2018: The New San Francisco
2019: On Being 11

Theater Reviews
Updated 3/10

Books Read in 2020
 Updated 3/30
"An Echo in the Bone"

COVID-19 Movie Marathon
Updated 5/8
The Bookshop

Personal Home Page

My family

Books Read in 2020
Books Read in 2019
Books Read in 2018

Books Read in 2017
Books Read in 2016
Books Read in 2015
Books Read in 2014
Books Read in 2013

Books Read in 2012
Books Read in 2011
Books Read in 2010

updated 7/16

(you know how to fix it)

Some Background Links:
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
The story of Delicate Pooh
The story of the Piñata Group
Pumpkin pies
Who IS this Gilbert person anyway?


mail to Walt / mail to Bev  


15 May 2020

There was a 6.5 magnitude earthquake in Tonopah, Nevada around 4 a.m. this morning.  It was felt as far away as San Francisco, though I slept through it, so I don't know how strong it was felt here.

6.5 is a pretty strong earthquake.

Having grown up in San Francisco, I am fairly blasé about earthquakes.  I'm more terrified about the idea of a hurricane or tornado, but we are used to earthquakes.  They only last a few seconds (or minutes) and then they're over and most of them don't do much damage.

The strongest earthquake I felt was a 5.7 in 1957.  It struck in the morning and I was at school.  They closed the school and sent everyone home.  (I wanted to stay but they made me go.)

My mother and I were making a novena at St. Dominic's church in San Francisco.

A bunch of us gathered inside the church to pray together every night for nine nights.  As we were kneeling in the church that night, an aftershock struck.  I remember the priest, trying to calm us saying "don't worry.  You're in the best place you can be."

But I don't know.  I looked around the inside of the church....

...and I wasn't sure that this building was exactly the best place to be when the ground was shaking!

The thing about earthquakes is that when one hits, especially the San Francisco area, the media goes crazy.  We get calls and emails to ask if we are ok because the headlines in newspapers on the east coast read "San Francisco destroyed."

The Loma Prieta earthquake, in 1989, was pretty big--a 6.9-7.2--that lasted 8 seconds and caused a freeway to collapse in the east bay.  Pictures like this show people across the country that San Francisco was destroyed.

But actually most of San Francisco sits on very steady hills that aren't really affected by the earthquake.  This building is in the Marina, which was built on fill land so the ground isn't firm and when the earth moves, the ground undergoes liquefaction.  (Liquefaction is a phenomenon in which the strength and stiffness of a soil is reduced by earthquake shaking or other rapid loading.) 

The buildings which collapsed were buildings in which there was an opening to a garage on each corner of the edge of the building, so there was not as strong a support for the rest of the building.  I think there were something like five...or maybe seven...buildings which collapsed in the 1989 earthquake, but no major damage elsewhere.

The earthquake happened when people were waiting for the start of the World Series.  Tom and David were at the stadium with Walt's brother and his wife.  Ned and Marta lived in Oakland and Ned was working in a video store.  Walt was in Maryland.  Jeri was commuting across the bridge from San Francisco to Walt's mother's house, Paul was here in Davis with me.

I felt the earthquake at my office and knew that if I could feel it here in Davis, it must be a pretty big quake.  I immediately called Marta, who told me that Ned was fine.  By the time I got to my car to go home, news reports were saying  that everyone at the stadium was fine, so I didn't worry about Tom and David.  I knew Paul and Walt were fine, but I didn't know about Jeri until late at night.

A section of the bridge that she would be crossing had collapsed

This was before we all had cell phones, so she wasn't able to call until 10 p.m.  She was felt the quake in her car, but thought it was a flat tire.  She continued onto the bridge and of course all traffic stopped.  They had to move all cars onto Treasure Island, so they could turn around and drive back into the city.  All the electricity in the city was out and she finally found a pay phone and called because she didn't know where to go.  Dumb me, it never occurred to me to have her go to Char's house, but I did give her directions to the house of a Lamplighter friend and she spent the night there.

There hasn't been as big an earthquake in SF since 1989 and we are still waiting for the inevitable "big one."  But I figure we are safe in Davis.  At the worst, we might end up with beach front property.



1906 quake


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