Wednesday 24 August 2011

I'm in Philadelphia for 2 weeks on business with my consulting client. Their office is on the 19th floor in center city Philadelphia. I was sitting at my desk, I had a moment and decided to call my mom, while in the middle of leaving her a phone message, the whole building started to shake. At first, I thought it was someone moving heavy furniture (like a safe or something hugely heavy) around but I knew all the floors here were carpeted. I quickly terminated my message, stood up and people were looking around standing up. Nobody around me had ever felt an earthquake before, this was my third now.

The first quake I felt was in Tokyo about a week before the 1989 Loma Prieta. It was about 3am. I heard the bed creaking, I thought it was someone in the next room, then felt the wall and realized it was my bed banging up against the wall like I was in a car or airplane. The entire room was swaying what felt like about a foot or two. The curtains were swaying back and forth, the window was creaking I thought it might break. Things started moving back and forth across the room as if it was a boat. Then after about 20 to 30 seconds, it calmed down. I opened the door to the room, not a creature was stirring. Nobody was hurt.

The second quake I felt I was in Grenoble France. It was about 1am, I was at my computer working which was in the bedroom. Penny was sleeping on the bed near me. All of a sudden, it felt like we were in a train when the cars couple together. The entire building seemed to shift laterally an inch or so. Penny woke up briefly, looked at me across the room and yelled at me "Stop what you're doing!!" as if somehow I could move the entire apartment building by my computer hackery!

Today was more subdued than the quake in Japan but longer than the quake in France. It went on for maybe 12-20 seconds and felt like the entire building was going over a bumpy road a little. It almost felt like someone was jumping up and down or like I said earlier like someone was moving around heavy furniture. People came in from the other side and said that they could see the church steeples swaying. I chatted my Dad over Skype and he said he had just felt the strongest earthquake he'd ever felt in Maryland. Fortunately, nothing broke in his store which is filled with expensive antiques.

The building closed at 2:30pm because they were worried about aftershocks. There's been some but so weak they couldn't be felt anywhere near here. I went to the bosses house and we sat around watching the news sipping wine and talking about work for the rest of the day.

Everyone is talking about it in the streets. Nobody here has ever felt an earthquake here. People here on the east coast didn't even recognize it as an earthquake because most of them had no notion of what an earthquake really was. Well, if there's one thing this has done without anyone getting hurt is some education!

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