Sunday, August 31, 2014

Did the Earth Move for You?


When Trish got home from selling at Farmer's Market yesterday, she commented that one of our dogs, Thowra, was behaving in an unusually anxious way. He was circling his tether post, slamming into the chain from time to time, but mostly just running in circles, jumping on and off his house, and generally expending more energy than is typical of him during early evening. All of the other dogs were just hanging out, doing the same sorts of things they usually do at that time of day. We didn't think a whole lot about it until later.

At about 7 O'clock (7:06 to be more precise) Trish and I were sitting at the table discussing our division of labor for evening chores when the earth moved. Dishes rattled, art work on the walls started jumping, and even the heavy, 3 layers of wood custom door on our cabin was rattling about. It was a severe enough earthquake that we both decided it might be safer outside, and the house dog decided to join us with no coaxing at all. About 10 seconds or so of hard shaking later, the earth finally settled down.

When I brought up the Alaska Earthquake Information web-site, they reported a magnitude of 5.3, from a depth of 8 miles and centered about 60 miles (more or less) to the northwest of us, near Livengood. Though certainly no record-breaker, it was a bigger than average quake for our part of Alaska.

Today the morning newspaper is reporting an aftershock at about 4:30 this morning, of about 4.2 magnitude. I don't recall feeling that one, though Trish did have to get up and let the house dog out at about that time, so it could be related. I haven't read or heard reports of any significant damage.

Our house is basically a log cabin perched atop a heavy wood-frame construction lower story. Both types of structures generally fare well during seismic events, especially compared to masonry construction (bricks, concrete, &c).

We fed, watered and tended to the animals about half an hour later. By then Thowra had settled down and none of the critters seemed particularly concerned. We didn't immediately notice any downed trees or damage, so I think we came out of it completely unscathed.

National Geographic Contest Update:

As of 6 O'clock this morning our Expedition Granted proposal is competing against 353 other proposals. The deadline for submissions is midnight, eastern time tonight. Next we will have to wait until September 14th, when contest judges will announce up to 10 finalists in the contest.

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