Monday, June 4, 2007

On Shaky Ground in New Hampshire?

The folks in New Hampshire were treated to a couple of earthquakes over the past weekend. I say "treated" because I actually like to feel the earth rumble. Not too much, mind you; just enough to remind me of the processes taking place within the earth's crust. It is not only naive to forget the earth's dynamics, and how geologically instantaneous events contribute much of what we observe in the geologic record, it can be very dangerous and costly.

Last weekend's events in New Hampshire were small - magnitude 1.4 and 1.9 - and many people probably didn't even notice them. A magnitude 5.5 quake that rocked the area in 1940 likely drew a bit more attention. Historic earthquakes have been recorded as far back as 1663.

The eastern passive margin of North America doesn't compete with the western active margin in terms of earthquake frequency. Still, those on the east coast get to feel the ground shake occasionally. I've felt quite a few mild earthquakes having lived and worked in places like Nevada, California, Montana, and in the Andes of Peru, but the first quake I experienced occurred in Raleigh, NC. And then there was that magnitude 7.3 rock-n-roller that caught the attention of Charleston, SC, in 1886.

I can't claim to have experienced any large, or even moderate, quakes. Probably magnitude 3 ... maybe 4 ... max. I felt the 1989 earthquake that hit San Francisco and interrupted the World Series. I was at the office in Reno, Nevada.

Who has their own memorable earthquake experience? Post 'em in the comments below!

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