Tag Archive | earthquakes

Shaken, not stirred

Haven’t felt a significant earthquake myself here in Ottawa since the one I wrote about in June 2010.

Was trying to get a nap in after working all night and felt this vibration go through the springs of my mattress, like a huge truck convoy going past the house. When it went on too long, I decided to get up and check online. Twitter for the win!

According to the Earthquakes Canada site, they’d initially said it was a 4.8 near Braeside, ON, but now they’re reporting it as a 5.1 magnitude quake 21 km NE of Shawville, QC, at 09:43. The page for it is at http://www.earthquakescanada.nrcan.gc.ca/recent_eq/2013/20130517.1343/index-eng.php.

The USGS page for the event is at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usb000gxna#summary.

Be sure and report it if you felt it at both places. (Both pages offer questionnaires to fill out for just that thing.)

All shook up

Well.

It’s been awhile since that’s happened. Or at least since I’ve felt it.

Earthquake in (well, I presume near — it wasn’t *that* strong) Ottawa at about 1:45pm.

Thank god for Twitter, that’s all I can say.

I’ve been on a weird night shift sleep pattern lately so I was sleeping when it happened. Thought someone was blasting or something. (We have construction going on near here.) But it went on for quite awhile, longer than blasting or a big truck passing by would be — about 20 or 30 seconds, followed by a little lull and another little shimmy. (I don’t know if it was related but within about a minute of the shaking ending, a number of emergency vehicles went past here. Surprisingly, there were no car alarms.) Then I thought maybe I was (a) imagining it or (b) having some kind of weird back spasms.

So, I did what any self-respecting person would do. I Googled “Ottawa shaking”.

Internet WIN.

Loads of tweets within seconds. Blog posts within minutes. And there are already news reports about it. The Earthquakes Canada site is impossible to load, as is much of the rest Natural Resources Canada. (I can just imagine how many hits their servers are taking right now).

Edited to add: Finally got the Earthquakes Canada site to load (kind of) and all it says about today is “June 23 1:45 pm Eastern Time – A moderate earthquake has occurred in the Ottawa-Montreal region. More information to follow.”

The US Geological Survey DYFI (did you feel it?) page for the event (event ID us2010xwa7) loads much more quickly. (The main USGS page for the event offers more details about the event.) They say the earthquake was at 13:41:41, centered about 50 kilometers northwest-ish of us (see Google maps), a magnitude 5.5 at a depth of 15 kilometers. Until the Canadian site is working better (and updated), report your experience on the USGS site.

Edited to add again: The Earthquakes Canada home page is now only loading the message I quoted earlier and nothing else. But you can visit the page for this event (which has been downgraded to a magnitude 5.0, with a depth of 18 km) directly and submit a report without going through the home page.

And again (16:00): An interesting commentary on how the earthquake became a Toronto earthquake in the Twitterverse. Some particularly awesome tweets include freemurphy (“Pitchfork gives the #earthquake a 5.5, calls it “derivative, clearly influenced by more seminal eastern quakes”), kylemcinnes (“Ottawa government buildings evacuated. Productivity unaffected.”), and Guin (“Reports coming in that the #earthquake caused a tsunami at the #g20 fake-lake :P”). Some nicely in-depth coverage by the Ottawa Citizen now, as well. Some raw CBC video footage (you can see what that looked like on TV here). Some YouTube video coverage:

And finally a little apropos xkcd:

xkcd Seismic Waves

I feel the earth move under my feet

A Crack in the Edge of the WorldA Crack in the Edge of the WorldI’m reading Simon Winchester‘s book, A Crack in the Edge of the World, which describes the 1906 earthquake in California and the events and geologic theories around it. (The book is most notable perhaps because of its unique dust jacket, which unfolds into a huge, 55cm X 93cm poster.)

The man isn’t half long-winded — I’m already almost a third of the way through the book and he hasn’t gotten past the plate tectonic theory and his reminiscences about his travel to other geologic hot spots. Title aside, this is less a book about the Great Earthquake of 1906 than it is about plate tectonics and the turn of the 20th century in general. Once you get past your expectations, it’s actually an interesting read,and it took me back to my high school geology classes, reminding me why I’d considered geology as a potential career path.

In North America, you tend to think of earthquakes as being a distinctly West Coast thing, occurring only in the westernmost parts of the US and Canada. After all, the eastern and western edges of the North American Plate are in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and along the western coast of the continent respectively, thousands of miles from where we are. You forget (or never knew) that there are stress zones all over the place, crisscrossed with fault lines.  Continue reading