|Courtesy David K. Lynch (Geology.com)|
From our condo in San Carlos, I didn't feel the earth shift for any of these mini-quakes, but once or twice in recent months I have experienced the feel of a modest tremor. The first time I thought a giant diesel semi truck had parked in front of our condo and left its engine idling incredibly high. The next time it sounded like the upstairs neighbors decided for some reason to slam the front door three times in rapid succession before rolling a giant filing cabinet across a tile floor.
As a relatively new Californian, I was surprised to find these modest tremors are not uncommon at all, and initially, I found them to be sort of novel and exciting. Lately though, they've been coming more often and closer together. Like contractions. And we all know how messy that ends up.
I was beginning to wonder what all this means. Is this all precursor to a bonafide building crusher? Is the rapture really coming soon? If the 49ers actually lose only one game all year, will the earth open up and swallow the bay area before the playoffs?
Science seems to be no help in unraveling the mysteries of the earthquake. It turns out that issues of geology are not so easily understood nor are they predictably resolved in a matter of weeks or months, over even decades and centuries. Scientists will ultimately be able to better predict the timing of major earthquakes, but they will need just a couple more millennia of study before clear patterns emerge.
In the meantime, out here on the left coast, we're simply forging bravely ahead with our daily business of protesting things, legalizing marijuana, and other stuff like that. All the while, in light of a possible devastating quake, we make sure to conduct occasional reviews of our building evacuation plans, and we keep large sturdy tables around so we have some place to scamper if need be.
Rest assured, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we remain shaken, but not stirred.