Apr 10

More shaking

Had a big (7.2) earthquake only 55 miles away yesterday.  That’s been followed by a host of aftershocks…and today 40MPH winds.

My rear fence is really hurting again.  I don’t expect the older tarp to last the night on the carport.

USGS maps of quakes near us from this afternoon.

Checking the live map now it looks like it’s up to 533.

Feb 08

More shaking

I’m getting pretty good at estimating the size of these quakes we’ve been having. Another pretty good one just went though and I immediately though “Hmmm, that’s about a 4.5 I’d say”. Checked the USGS site and a few minutes later it was confimred…4.7. Not too far off!

Apparently until we have another bigger than the 5 that “started” all of this or things drop back down to normal these are all considered aftershocks. Even though some of them are apparently coming from a different fault within the same system. Seems kind of odd to me…but I’m not the one who makes the rules for naming these things so that’s what I get to live with. I could always go back to school become a seismologist and fight for change. But that would be pretty silly. I like geology…but not enough to dedicate my life to it.

Then again with a butt that’s calibrated well enough to be within 2 points on the richter scale…maybe I missed my calling!


They revised the rating on this one to a 4.8…but apparently it was followed almost immediately by a 4.4 – which averages out to a 4.6 I didn’t feel two separate…though it did feel like a kind of rough shake and a distinctly smoother shake. So maybe my in chair seismograph just averaged the two quakes together…in that case my 4.5 guess is even closer.

Feb 08

Shaken off subject

Ok, the rest of the darkroom will have to wait. I don’t have a lot of time today but wanted to say something about the excitement here in town the past few days. Specifically the seismic activity going on south of the border that we’re catching the tail end of. The past few days there have been multiple (like 3-4) earthquakes above a 3 with 2 of them topping out over 5 down in Mexico.

It started with a 5.4 a little after midnight on Friday. Amy and I were just sitting down on the couch and I thought I felt a big rolling earthquake…but figured I was just tired and it must have been us shifting around on the couch that I felt. The next morning I found out my instinct was right and it was a little quake.

Rest of the weekend there were a couple of little ones … I thought I felt a few … but I always seem to be feeling earthquakes that no one else is so I don’t know how many were real. But this morning we got another real one. A 4.9 that hit while Amy and I were just sitting down to Lunch. She thought it was just me kicking her chair at first – but everyone in the shop was suddenly muttering “earthquake” – and about as soon as everyone was sure what was happening…it was over. Barely even enough to rattle the dishes I suspect.

And then tonight another 5.1 hit. I was making toast out of my latest batch of sourdough (the best yet!) and again it seemed to be over before it started … Heck the dog slept through it.

I guess western Kentucky where Amy comes from must be more seismically stable than northern Ohio. We only had one real good quake while I was growing up (and like so many other newsworthy events from my childhood I was home sick the day it happened) but we had little shakes all the time. Personally I enjoy them, the ones here in Yuma though are different…they feel bigger but gentler if that makes sense. In Ohio the quakes were kind of rough little shore wave…here they’re like big rolling ocean waves. Amy doesn’t seem to enjoy any of them.

Of course the biggest quakes I’ve felt were both here in Yuma. The first was shortly after moving here in summer 1999, it was big enough that I was woken by the sound of water in our pool splashing. I actually thought Matt’s cat may have fallen in at first…then I noticed how much things were swaying and remembered that I hadn’t been drinking that night! That one went on for quite awhile and since I was in a basement I was actually debating whether to jump out the window or go up the stairs for safety when it subsided.

The second biggie was in Dec 2001 I was in my garage working on my rail when it hit. At first I thought it was my friend messing with me by pushing the rail. Then I saw how white he was and realized it was a quake. It was actually big enough that my rail moved about a foot back and forth and I was having a hard time standing up! It went for quite awhile and my friend was really freaked out and ran out to the middle of the yard…I just enjoyed the swaying and hoped I wouldn’t get motion sickness.

The Yuma quakes are interesting to me. For one because of our poximity to the infamous San Andreas fault zone, and secondly because of the Cerro Prieto geothermal plant down in Mexico that sits next to a volcano, between two faults, at the very tail end of the San Andreas zone.

The San Andreas needs little introduction. One of the most well known faults in America it’s responsible for pretty much every earthquake the “average joe” can name. (Of course when the new madrid fault in the midwest finally lets loose the Cali people will get to finally sit one out while someone else gets a few pages in the history books for a change.) What most people don’t realize is just how far it stretches. The fault itself starts just north west of Yuma on the eastern shores of the Salton Sea. However the zone it’s part of extends even further.

Cerro Prieto on the other hand isn’t very well known at all, even by locals down here. Yet it’s pretty big news and something a lot of people in these parts SHOULD be paying attention to. I’ll have to come back to it another time though when I can go into more detail.