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24 August 2011 @ 12:52 am
I find it amusing that there's an earthquake on the east coast, and pretty much everyone in a multistate region feels it.

Meanwhile over here on the west coast it's like "Oh, you had in earthquake up in your part of California? We didn't feel it down here in my part of California" :) Of course i _might_ have felt a 5.9 from that distance... but probably not.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Leora: butterfly in my handsleora on August 24th, 2011 07:59 am (UTC)
It was just a wee 3.6. But I learned today that the ground underneath is very different on the East Coast, and apparently it transmits the feel of an earthquake much better than the West Coast does. So, they get basements and better earthquake transmission.

Also, this really was a small one. I wasn't even sure it was an earthquake when it happened, and I was really close to it. It was quick, and I suspected, but I had to confirm. It made the sliding glass doors in my bathroom shake and rattle though. I was going to take a quick bath, which I ended up delaying, so I got to notice the shower door rattling effect. :)
balivatnbalivatn on August 24th, 2011 08:14 am (UTC)
They're used to different natural disasters, that's all. A few of my friends had to deal with shattered glass from old windows, which kind of sucks. Although Irene is eyeing that region - so I guess it's good they got the windows shattered now... a hurricane would have been a worse way to find out your windows were fragile.
Leora: ouroborosleora on August 24th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
I was really glad the East Coast quake wasn't bigger. The buildings there aren't built to the same quake standards, and bolting your bookcases to the wall and various other quake safety precautions just aren't things people think to do there. So a big quake could be much worse on the East Coast. It's fortunate it seems nobody was seriously harmed by the quake they did get. So, there definitely is an element of being ready for different problems. But it's still weird how well their section of the Earth transmits earthquakes compared to the West Coast. I hadn't realized the West Coast has less of an inherent ability for the earthquake to spread over a distance, even though it gets a whole lot more of them.
balivatnbalivatn on August 24th, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
Buildings aren't built to standards for earthquakes, a lot of the cities are much more compressed, ground transmits earthquakes farther, a lot more stuff underground... Yeah, a "real" earthquake by CA standards would leave a heck of a lot of devestation in its wake.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 24th, 2011 04:07 pm (UTC)
The geology of the East Coast is different, and nobody here is prepared for an earthquake, or experienced in them.

Edited at 2011-08-24 04:21 pm (UTC)
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 24th, 2011 04:25 pm (UTC)
...uh, actually, i was commenting on the size of the east coast states vs the size of west coast states in general and California in particular =P
Kirinkirinn on August 24th, 2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
Ah, yeah, that's true too, but this one was also felt over an area longer than all of California, due to our different sort of bedrock. All those cracks you guys got over there just damp out the shaking over long distances.
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 24th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, the "but California's bigger than Virginia" argument doesn't make sense. Geology don't care about state lines. It's 350 miles from LA to SFO, which is about as far as from here to Philadelphia, and the area's at least as populated.
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 24th, 2011 05:03 pm (UTC)
Uh, what does the population count in the area have to do with who can feel it?
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 24th, 2011 05:09 pm (UTC)
The eastern seaboard isn't a sparsely-populated wasteland is my point. It's a megacity, and given that the building codes here don't account for earthquakes and that seismic waves travel further and faster through the Atlantic coast bedrock, there's potential for significant damage with an earthquake as powerful as the ones that are "nothing" on the Pacific coast.
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 24th, 2011 05:41 pm (UTC)
Yes.... and i don't disagree with you at all, i'm just rather confused.

I say a true thing, and from my perspective it seems like you got angry and responded by saying a different true thing. And when i point out that your true thing and my true thing don't contradict each other at all you just reiterate your true thing, with some added comments about the west coast being a "sparsely populated wasteland" thrown in for fun.

(Interestingly going by CSAs in the page you linked it looks like the greater LA area has about seven times the population density of the Northeast megalopolis, even if it only has about 40% of the population. Yeah there are certainly a lot of empty areas between each area, but the areas that _are_ populated certainly aren't sparse. Not that that has anything to do with how vulnerable the east coast is to earthquakes or not, but when you start using hostile sounding words it tends to make people start being defensive, so i felt compelled to look up what the statistical differences were.)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 24th, 2011 05:54 pm (UTC)
Because I've read far too much smug West-Coast mockery of people's responses, of "lol you call that an earthquake? lolol," and that sort of thing, and my initial read of your post classified it as similar. Perhaps not smug, but lightly mocking.

Because there are a damn lot of people who think that everything off of the I-95 corridor is full of rednecks and backwater burgs (never mind that I-95 goes through a damn lot of backwater burgs).
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 24th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
Okay, and if that's what i'd been doing it would have been fair for you to be pissed off, but as i tried to point out in my first response to you i wasn't saying anything like that at all, so it would be nice if you could stop being angry at me?

And on a side note, if i _had_ been disparaging where you live, responding be telling me that where i live is a wasteland probably wouldn't help convince me to listen to what you had to say, it would be more likely to just escalate a flame war.

(In fact even though that wasn't where i was starting from, after that point i was almost tempted to say something really nasty back just so i'd feel like i was deserving the spite i seemed to be getting. Thankfully common sense prevailed :)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 26th, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
You will note that I edited the comment to remove the reference to smug Californians. This had to be done before you replied to me, because LJ doesn't allow editing after someone responds.
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 26th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, i noticed that, and i appreciated it (even if i'd already started replying to the message at the time.) However retracting one disparaging comment does not then give one free license to make other disparaging comments later.
Steuardsteuard on August 26th, 2011 02:24 am (UTC)
I have seen a lot of smug West-coast mockery of East-coasters' reaction to the quake, too. It's pretty unfair, for all the reasons you point out. But you know what? When I was in high school and told midwesterners that I was going to college in California, I swear that nearly half the people I talked to made some derisive comment about how I'd better watch out because the state was going to fall into the sea. It got old fast, and I hadn't even lived there yet. So I figure that if California natives have to put up with people constantly giving them a hard time for living in a place with earthquakes, it's only fair that they get to give the rest of the country a hard time back when the planet turns the tables a little.

Or to put it another way: A lot of people like to talk smack. About sports, or weather, or whatever happens to be handy. It's very rarely malicious in intent: it's just a social game people play. I suspect that if there had been, say, any deaths or serious injuries or widespread property damage, most West-coasters would have been deeply sympathetic rather than teasing, because they know far too well how awful that can be. But to my somewhat neutral midwestern eye, taking offense at the lighthearted ribbing I've seen isn't a very proportionate reaction.

(On a related note, I wholeheartedly second donaithnen's comments here. Even if you entirely disagree with my points above, what's with the assumption that he intended his comments in a malicious way when there were perfectly innocent interpretations, too? Especially after he clarified his intent?)
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 26th, 2011 01:28 pm (UTC)
Mockery (in which I include "lighthearted" ribbing) is a vile pastime, and it is not one that I support or prefer to engage in.

"We stir our smoothies with 5.8s" is one comment I read, and "I don't even get out of bed for less than a 6.2," not to mention "Call me when your highway is broken in half like in Loma Prieta."

So, 45 million-plus people, most of whom have never experienced an earthquake or have gone through earthquake safety drills, all of whom live in an area where there are a damn lot of 100-year-old+ buildings made of brick and stone which aren't retrofitted for earthquake safety, are unnerved by a shallow 5.8 which traveled through the solid sheet of cold bedrock that makes up the eastern seaboard, and Californians make fun of them, that's OK because there are jerks who like to make jokes about California falling into the sea. And we're not allowed to be annoyed by it.

Got it.

The earthquake earlier this year in Christchurch that killed 181 people was a shallow 6.3. If the epicenter had been 30 miles east (under Richmond) or north (under the furthest DC suburbs) rather than under a one-light town, there would have been significant damage and probably deaths--compounded by this hurricane that's barrelling up the coast. Shallow earthquakes are no joke.

The shakemap shows that the intensity of shaking was Mercalli IV-VI, and the Chch one was Mercalli VII. For comparison, this is the only earthquake in CA of a similar magnitude this year. Its highest intensity shaking was Mercalli IV.

Edited at 2011-08-26 01:43 pm (UTC)
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 24th, 2011 05:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, i'd heard the geology thing, but not the bit about the total area being larger than California. I've heard of people in New York feeling it and people in North Carolina feeling it, but that's about the northern and southern extent of friends i've got on the east coast. How far away could it actually be felt? (And why don't people do maps of these things? =P)

NC to NY is a little less than 500 miles, so a radius of about 250 miles, or significantly less than the distance between me and San Francisco.
Kirinkirinn on August 24th, 2011 05:08 pm (UTC)
Maps of these things: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/dyfi/events/se/082311a/us/index.html

(If it's not showing most of the eastern seaboard, click the "Zoomout Map" on the right.)

(And I made up the "longer than CA" stat off the top of my head, but I'm pretty sure Atlanta to Canada is sufficient?)

Edited at 2011-08-24 05:10 pm (UTC)
DonAithnendonaithnen on August 24th, 2011 05:20 pm (UTC)
Ooohhh! Either that wasn't there the last time i looked or it was being blocked or something =P

So looks like it would have been a 3-6 state event over here, instead of a, er.... 20 state event?
Sister Atom Bomb of Courteous Debateakiko on August 24th, 2011 05:12 pm (UTC)
Atlanta to Boston is 950 miles. The north-south distance of California as measured by I-5 is 780 miles.

Edited at 2011-08-24 05:16 pm (UTC)