It finally happened. After three long years (and two weeks) of consciously experiencing absolutely no seismic activity, my streak was abruptly ended at 3:20am this morning. A 6.0 earthquake struck near Napa, the strongest in the area since 1989.
The foggy area between sleep and consciousness dulled my critical thinking and memory but this is what I recall happening: I was in bed, naturally, when I suddenly awoke. My bed was lightly jogging against the wall behind my head, whilst my closet doors, ceiling fan cords, and window blinds were making a terrible racket as they gently swayed. I think it was the noise, rather than the shaking that pulled me to lucidity.
The rocking itself was light. Unlike what I would have expected from an earthquake, it didn’t feel sinusoidal or regular; instead it was as if the apartment was being pushed to slide to the north, before suddenly halting and then sliding back. The change in movement was very abrupt, very arrhythmic, but not strong. Almost like being on a ship, but more deliberate, if that makes sense. The part that apparently shocked everyone, though, was the length. I’m not sure how long it went on before I was awakened, yet once up it seemed to never stop. In real-time it was maybe 20-25 seconds.
As soon as I recognized that my earthquake virginity was now taken, I of course took to social media, heart a-flutter.
Reports of its tremors were widespread and almost uncountably numerous, a continuous stream of Tweets, Facebook stati, and news articles. The USGS had its information posted seemingly instantly. Seeing that it was actually quite a large quake, I was awaiting awful news from around the area. A 6.0 is nothing to sneeze at. While that’s just 4.5% as powerful as the highly destructive Loma Prieta was, this one was also nearly half as shallow and much closer to San Francisco (not to mention, nearly centered on the city of Napa). On Twitter at 3:30am, the trending topics were, in order:
What’s up, rest of the country? Not you, apparently.
I continued to browse around the interwebs on my phone, not really able to fall asleep. I was both excited and terrified, having never felt an earthquake before and never realized how incredibly freaky it feels when the ground literally moves under you.
I slept through a quake three weeks ago when I was in Napa for work. It hit almost the exact spot this one did. Call it a foreshock, I suppose. I was disappointed when everyone I was with had felt it, yet I missed out on the experience. Well, that didn’t take long, did it? Hopefully, this too wasn’t a foreshock, otherwise I may have an even more interesting story to tell soon.
Stay safe, Bay Area!