I live in Virginia, that’s right. I shouldn’t have to worry about earthquakes–NOT! Sure, an occasional Nor’easter or Snowmaggedon. But shake the seat of your pants earth rattling, not on the good old east coast! But, apparently we were wrong.
For as much as I’ve seen some pretty amusing jokes making light of the whole incident (“I survived EARTHQUAKE VIRGINIA, 8.23.11”; a photo of some really lightweight lawn furniture with one of the chairs blown over and the caption: “8-23-11 NEVER FORGET”), it had an underlying, “holy crap, that was scary” undertone running through it all.
I’m sure for some brief time frame in the not too distant future we’ll hear all kinds of stories of what we were doing and how we might have been affected. Comically enough, I happened to be using the restroom during the event, which lasted well under a 30 seconds, thinking all kinds of things to myself: is my washer unbalanced?–no, I’m not doing laundry at the moment…is there a truck outside or digging in the street? Hmm. The curtains in my window are vibrating, but sort of still at the same time. Weird. Then I felt the window sill and knew, good god that it coming from somewhere VERY deep below. I ran out of the bathroom to see what my kids where up to and we all raced outside to see what other’s reactions may be…to which we didn’t see much. Followed shortly was a phone call by my hubby to make sure we were all ok and to try and figure out where it initiated from. He had gotten tossed out of a Starbucks in Arlington, as they were trying to assess what was going on. Soon after that, mom, from Philly, calls to check in since she heard it originated in Virginia as SHE felt it too!
Where do you go these days to find out what happened? Facebook of course! What on earth would we have done in the internet had gone down!! I was startled to see how many posts from different geographic locations were popping up, and all were wondering what the hell had happened. It was hard to grasp, really, just how far reaching this little tremblor was.
Not many answers there, next step, google. It was quickly determined that the epicenter was in Mineral, VA, a few hours from the DC area. Reports here and there also followed how ill prepared the east coast is for such seismic activity. Pieces of the National Cathedral fell from the rooftop, the Washington Monument was sporting a new crack near the top, and there is a concern that there may be hairline cracks in gas pipes that may present a future danger over time. For as most people brushed this off as a minor inconvenience, I’m sure a small circle of people were more urgently affected than most.
As an example, friends in the area was flabbergasted to find two cracks in the foundation walls of her basement–over an inch wide and thorough enough to see the afternoon sun shining through. Much to their shock, their standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover this, as it is considered earthquake damage, which requires a separate rider. Good lord, who even thinks about such things here?
Even though our friends on the Pacific coast may have been smirking in their lattes, it didn’t appear to be a localized event. I haven’t found any documentation that states the reach of a California earthquake, but man if people were feeling it from South Carolina to Canada, if the event was larger than 5.9 on our Richter Scale, could you just imagine the catastrophic damage that would have resulted? Especially since the east coast is not engineered to withstand such rumblings? I can’t even fathom.
So, yes, we survived the latest natural disaster relatively unscathed, with perhaps some extra shake in our boots, literally. Let’s just hope a major event doesn’t lie somewhere in the near future, or I shudder to imagine where we’d be then…