I guess it was bound to happen eventually, but I’m a little surprised as to just how totally unprepared I was for my first earthquake. Sure, earthquakes are always a surprise, I get that. But it was nothing like what I thought it would be. I expected I would hear rumbling and rattling and feel lots of vibrations, like riding the old Texas Giant at Six Flags in Arlington (before the recent renovation). Instead, it was nothing like that.
Yesterday, April 11, 2012, Dixie and I were both sitting down and working. She was at the dining table, I was on the couch. The first indication I had that something was different in the world was an unusual sensation. I was leaning forward and typing on my laptop when I suddenly felt light-headed and I could feel my pulse strongly. The throbbing caused me to feel like the room was moving, when it was obviously just something internal. I felt something like nausea, or vertigo. I sat up straight and took a deep breath. The feeling eased a bit, and then it came back. That’s when Dixie said “Why is the house moving?” And that’s when I said “Oh shit, it’s an earthquake!” We both went out the front door and stood in the street behind the car. Another wave hit and we watched the wrought iron fence gently wave back and forth. I saw one of the utility poles sway slightly.
And then it was over.
The entire time that it lasted there was no noise. No rumbling, no rattling. And the movement wasn’t jarring either. The whole world simply rocked back and forth several times, just enough to induce queasiness.
The quake occurred at 5:55pm central time. The epicenter was about 100 miles away down near the Pacific coast, about halfway between Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco. The initial estimate was that the quake measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, but that was later revised downward to 6.5 by the USGS. Mexico City is 240 miles from the epicenter, but tall buildings swayed (without damage). Later that night, just after midnight, two other quakes occurred farther north, near the Baja peninsula. If you add the recent quake further south, the whole Pacific coast of Mexico is being pretty rumbly with four quakes stronger than 6.0 all within a three-week period.
It seems to me that I remember saying something not too long ago about wanting to be in an earthquake, just so I could say I had. Obviously I did not intend to be in anything too strong, so yesterday’s quake met my criteria admirably. Having said that, I’m good for now on earthquakes. Give me some good old safe tornado chasing any day!