I walked into the Hartford Courant building this afternoon and immediately ran into Hans Keck. Hans is our security chief and he didn’t look happy. There had been an earthquake. The drapes upstairs in the newsroom were swinging. We got into the elevator.
Note to self: Aren’t you supposed to avoid elevators in earthquakes? Damn.
By the time we got to the third floor the shaking had stopped, but the buzz was loud!
I’m used to being in newsrooms. The level of ‘newsiness’ is proportional to the level of sound. Something was obviously afoot.
I started yelling out in the general direction of those in charge. I know where to get seismograph printouts. I know geologists. How could I help?
A few minutes later I was on FoxCT with Brent Harden. We were reporting on the magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Virginia. It was felt up and down the East Coast.
I had gone to my ‘go-to’ websites for maps and plots which we began to show on the air. Much of my specific Virginia earthquake knowledge came in the moments leading to being on-the-air. The USGS has a wealth of location specific info on their site if you just know where it’s hidden.
Today’s quake happened in an area known for seismic activity. There have been quakes before. There are no mapped fault lines there, but that’s not unusual. Most fault lines are quietly anonymous.
Earthquakes are felt farther in the east than the west because our crust is older, colder and harder. It just transmits vibration more efficiently.
Luckily damage is minor. Few lives have been disturbed. Now I can go back to concentrating on Irene.