June 16, 2004 by Allen George
Yes, I know I’m a day late, but I had other issues occupying my mind.
Yesterday, an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale occured approximately 60 miles off the coast of Baja, Mexico.
My first earthquake.
It was around 3:30 when the earthquake hit San Diego – just while I was at work. I was at my table, lights out when I heard a deep rumbling. To be quite honest, for the first 20 seconds or so I didn’t realize what was happening.
Isn’t an earthquake quite distinctive? Well – no – not really at first. There’s an individual in our office block that has a very distinctive, heavy tread. You can always feel the floor vibrate as he walks by – a slight vibration, but present. That’s what I first associated the noise/vibration with. Over the course of a few seconds the vibration increased in intensity until you felt the whole floor vibrating heavily. My comment at the time: “What the hell?”. And that’s when it clicked that I, Allen George, was actually experiencing an earthquake.
At its peak, the tremor was extremely pronounced although it wasn’t strong enough to shake objects off my desk. I remember a deep rumble and looking out towards the side of the building and noticing that the sides appeared to be shaking. I don’t recall feeling any fear at all. Perhaps subconciously I sensed a lack of panic in the people in my office block (no sounds of people running/moving etc.) but I didn’t feel like there was any impending danger. I believe that the idea that I was having a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience simply drowned everything else out.
When I realized that I was living through an earthquake, I sat there excited and drinking in the experience. Outside the trees shook – a combination of the wind and the tremors. Phil and I simply watched. I don’t know how long it took, but the tremors started to die down. It’s funny – I have a very vague idea about how long the tremors persisted. I felt as if it were a few minutes – 3, maybe 4. Perhaps it was a lot shorter. I wonder if others lost track of time too. The aftershocks persisted for a good while longer. Very light, almost too faint to be clearly felt…that was my impression. I even had to ask Phil and Justin if what I was feeling was a figment of my imagination…
I was excited – no doubt about that. It’s the first time I’ve lived through one and I think, the next time I’d pay greater attention to exactly what I was experiencing and for how long. The next time, I want to catalog my experience.