Earthquake this morning:
Local Date: Thursday July 27th, 2006
Local Time: 05:18 AM AKDT
Universal Time: 07/27/2006 13:18:00.556 UTC
Magnitude: 4.89 ML
Depth: 15 miles (25 km)
And it was only 35 miles from here (12 from Anchorage) which is super close for an earthquake. We've had 5's before that didn't feel as strong simply because they were further away. I was so tired, though, from being up half the night in pain that I fell RIGHT back asleep before comitting to memory how the quake had felt. So all I remember is that it was a hard one, that I heard it coming louder than any quake I'd ever heard, and that it happened. lol. My friend Cassandra sleeps through most quakes (they always seem to happen at night) but my family and I must be pretty sensitive because the sound always alerts us enough that we are awake to gauge the severity of the quake (i.e. duck and cover or not) until it is over and we roll over and fall asleep.
If you've never heard an earthquake, there is no real way to describe it. It's vast, mile stretches of hundreds and hundreds, maybe thousands of feet of rock, gravel, dirt, and who knows what, sliding and grinding against itself. But it's SO huge that you hear it where it starts and then as the earth around the epicenter shifts in domino-like fashion, outward like a ripple, you hear the sound get closer and closer, increasing in volume until it hits YOU. And that all happens in less than a second.
Sometimes the vibrations come casually, like a train rolling by, the ground and everything in the house (and the house itself) starts shaking.... dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah-dah dah dah dah dah DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH dah dah dah dah dah da da
Or sometimes you hear it and then BAM!!! it hits and everything is shaking in a sneak-attack quake. Sometimes it is so fast that you don't hear anything at all until it hits.
But the sound itself is SO vast and so deep... It's like a sound that you aren't really hearing - you are hearing it with your body, with your skin, and with your 6th sense, not so much with your ears. The sounds are too high and too low. You know how sometimes in good silence, your ears can create roars that are only happening in your head, except that you can TELL they're coming from your head. It's almost like that in that you know you are hearing this sound, that it does exist, but it's not coming from somewhere normal or it's not being picked up in a normal way. And it's SO vast and SO heavy, it's literally the entire world. It is directional, for sure, you can tell where it is coming from, and the oscillation of sound can be different depending on the speed of the quake.
And this quake was particularly loud, probably because it was so close, and maybe also because it was on land rather than out in the inlet like they usually are.
I hate it when they have earthquakes in movies - most TV shows do a good job and I think it is precisely because of the low budget. Movies make the jolting too... I dunno... perfect and crumbly. Yeah things CAN crumble, I'm sure, but they just have the movement all wrong. They're loud but it doesn't seem like much is happening. Everything seems detatched from the sound that is occurring, and even though you're in it and things are moving and you can feel it, it feels like the quake is flowing AROUND you. Like standing in a river - you feel the river, it affects you, it jostles you, but it flows around you. And maybe because it IS -- the vibrations from a quake are directional, they are going by, not happening RIGHT WHERE YOU ARE - and that's how movies always make them seem. Bah. :P
So yeah... earthquakes... :P