Tonight, I felt my first earthquake. I was just sitting at the computer, minding my own business, when the building started shaking. For maybe two seconds, I thought it was a big truck going by, but after that I knew it had to be a tremor. Sure enough, when I jumped on the local amateur radio repeater, people were already talking about it. One operator reported feeling it in Fox, some 15 miles distant, which ruled out any local event.
It was startling, but in the end there was no damage. Nothing even moved or fell down off my shelves. My cat panicked and made for the door, but that was closed. What I’d felt was a magnitude 5 quake centered some 50 miles northwest of Fairbanks, out in the Minto Flats. As of this writing, the USGS has an event page, as does the Alaska Earthquake Information Center. The local newspaper, the Fairbanks News-Miner, already has an article, but it’s short on details. I’m particularly curious what happened the village of Minto, about 10 miles from the hypocenter. Watch this space for updates.
This event reminds me that going from first-world to third-world living takes just seconds. Last November Fairbanks experienced record winds that knocked out power for weeks in some areas. One of those areas was just down the road from my apartment. Had it happened to me, I would have quickly been without a habitable place. It’s been a goal of mine to gather supplies and equipment to be able to shelter in place and/or leave, and be able to survive on that for up to 72 hours. But it’s been slow going, partly due to laziness, and partly due to a lack of time, money, and storage space. This may be the kick in the ass I need to stop procrastinating and Just Do It.
UPDATE: Make that “first quakes”. Just after I went to bed around midnight, I distinctly felt the bed shake for a few seconds. I made a mental note to check the quake log the next day, and I went to sleep. Then I was rather rudely awoken around 4:30 am by another go-around. Worse than the midnight episode, but not as bad as the original event. Sure enough, AEIC reports a 3.46 at 12:10 am and a 4.19 at 4:25 am. And those (along with the original) are just the heaviest three of a swarm 50 or so quakes, otherwise below the threshold that I can feel.
UPDATE 2: I felt earthquake number four this afternoon, ironically while I was on the phone with my mother talking about natural disasters! It was a 4.1 magnitude. There was a low rumble, and my furniture started moving and creaking. My TV rocked back and forth.