There I was writing a story on Tuesday, August 23, 2011, having just finished up with Tommy’s invoices and packing lists, when I get all shook up… literally! The house shook for several seconds—20-30— rattling the dishes in the china cabinet and making me wonder if Justin’s room would fall down on top of me. Yes, it was that noticeable and a bit unnerving. I couldn’t imagine it was what I thought it must have been. An earthquake…in Pennsylvania?
Well, it was indeed an earthquake, but we “only” felt the shock-waves from far off—300 miles away. As it turned out it wasn’t actually in Pennsylvania. It started out in Virginia somewhat between Charlottesville and Richmond. As soon as I discovered it happened so close to Richmond, I immediately thought of Gracie and wondered how her sunflower patch had fared. Her pet, Alexandra, must have freaked out a bit and possibly hidden under a bed. I later found out they were both fine, but yes, shook up some.
The news said the quake occurred at precisely 1:51PM, but we felt it at 1:57PM. That means that the shock-waves ran 300 miles in 6 minutes. That’s going 50 miles per minute! Yowsa! This quake, although “only” a 5.9 on the scale was felt far and wide, from Toronto down to Georgia, as far west as Detroit and east to Boston. Oddly enough, some folks felt it while others didn’t, but many people stated their dogs, cats and even chickens freaked out a bit and barked, hid under beds or just flapped around in a tizzy.
We discovered an interesting fact about earthquakes. They are felt further and far greater where the land is solid and hard, rather than soft like sand. That would explain why we felt it so strong on our mountain top and some out on sandy Long Island felt nothing at all.
As Tom explained it to me, “If you hit a rock with a sledge hammer, you’ll feel it on the other side, but it you did the same with sand, you wouldn’t feel anything.”
So, I suppose if earthquakes scare you silly, you ought to go where the soil is loose and soft.
This wasn’t the first time we felt an earthquake in the Poconos. Tom and I were still in bed one morning a few years back when we felt a tiny tremor, nothing at all like this last one. It was just a blip and we dismissed it as an oddity, until later that day when we heard there had been a little earth shake somewhere in upstate New York. We were shocked that we had felt anything at all. Wonder if Mr. Happy Just Camping, Jim Bessey, The Tile Guy felt that one? It would have been closer to him. I’ll have to ask him.
I know one thing, t’was the perfect day to hear Elvis…we were all shook up!