Thursday, September 4, 2003

Quake Notes 9/4/03

I felt the pre-quake coming from the northeast, I could hear it coming like an impossible train. Or maybe a hurricane. I knew right away it was an earthquake and I knew it was significant so the pre-rumble was a good warning, the earthquake came violently, with a bang.

I was worried that the apartments north of us would sway. They may have contributed to some of the pre-quake noise. It was rolling, like riding a barrel on a pond, I could feel the direction it came from. 

We took cover in doorways as things bent and swayed. And we counted the time it took to stop. Bright jars of Pepper Eggplant leapt from shelves and spun dizzily in the light  like startled large Hawaiian cockroaches.

I could tell it was a 4.0; at first it felt like a 3.5 but then by the end, I upgraded it to a 4 (chalk it up to experience). I could tell we were near the epicenter. There was a tiny afterquake. Less than a 2. What was weird was that we could feel it roll right through the house, like an underground beast going south. The actual quake was more  like an explosion, the pre-rollers like heavy trucks rolling down 580, which we live next to. The baby after-quake felt like shaking pudding. Chocolate.

7:45 PM.  Another jolt. Felt like it was about a 2 a very large horse nudging the house...again it came from the north. This 1926 cottage is wood framed. Balloon construction and stucco. Takes quakes well. We're on bedrock, right above Lake Merritt. I will expect more tremors. 

Much later, we'll find the cracks in the walls. Now we thank God it wasn't the Big One. Tonight I sleep with my jeans on, pockets loaded with keys, wallet and cell phone. Ready to go. For we sleep on the uneasy Hayward Fault. Stuck techtonic plates, a ticking timebomb.


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