Last Night’s Quake: It’s Tougher To Disregard Twitter

Not a TV network, not a newspaper, not a wire service, I found out on Twitter from Sean Percival (@Percival) who I follow, though I forget why!

Computers do a great job of keeping records. That’s why I know it was 2:27 AM EDT when I sent,

Seeing tweets from SoCal of possible earthquake. Nothing on USGS site yet.

Not a TV network, not a newspaper, not a wire service, I found out on Twitter from Sean Percival (@Percival) who I follow, though I forget why!


That’ll get your attention.

Next up was Ken Levine (@KenLevine), baseball broadcaster, former disk jockey (he was radio’s Beaver Cleaver), Emmy award winning writer for M*A*S*H and other shows.

Might have felt an aftershock. Since I don’t have THX and even if I did, the TV was off. I’m guessing aftershock.

By this time USGS’s automated system had spit out a series of web pages. It was listed at magnitude 4.4 (since revised to 4.5) in Yorba Linda, home of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library, in the OC.

The quake took place at 2:23:34 EDT. Percival’s tweet is time stamped 2:24!

USGS doesn’t predict quakes, but they do predict damage! A computer model, PAGER (Prompt Assessment of Global Earthquakes for Response) quickly assessed the situation. There was some worry, but not much. There was a 65% probability damage would be under $1 million, 95% it would be under $10 million.

Calculations for loss of life were similar. PAGER calculated a 76% chance of one fatality of less, 100% fewer than ten would die.

This time of day the cable news networks were rerunning their primetime lineup. Nothing. Even when Fox News cut-in for a scheduled live brief, nothing!

At 2:43 AM EDT I tweeted,

Fox News does live news update and doesn’t include quake. Seriously? Back to recorded stuff.

As was the case when Sully landed in the Hudson and with much of the Arab Spring, Twitter was there first. Studio based news wasn’t there at all!

I spoke with my Hollywood based daughter a few minutes ago. She and Roxie were on the floor when the earth moved. She felt it! Her first. If Roxie felt it she showed no signs.

Stef felt an aftershock (aka – another earthquake) within the last half hour.

5 thoughts on “Last Night’s Quake: It’s Tougher To Disregard Twitter”

  1. Being a transplant here from California, 4.4 (or 4.5) is nothing. Its like a rumble in your stomach. More surprised that there is so much talk about this tremor (it shouldn’t even be classified as “quake”). : )

  2. I am now seeing reports that there was 4 in the last hour. Thanks Twitter and Facebook. you are right we get more information faster through twitter than any other news outlet.

  3. Our son just moved to CA, is now living just north of LA and has not called me to report, so it must not be that big of a thing. Our cousins living in CA over 30 yrs say 4 is nothing. You get used to it.

  4. 4.4/4.5 is really not bad. Close to the epicenter it would feel pretty sharp and might knock a few things over, but structural damage is unlikely in LA. If one were driving, hiking, jogging, or otherwise moving around you might not even feel it. There is a certain chance that this is a foreshock of a larger or equal quake, but that probability falls off sharply after a couple of days.

    Local news (and radio usually broadcasts it more quickly)usually says something within 15-20 minutes if it is larger than 3.0. Less than that it generally is ignored unless centered in a city

    When I lived on the Hayward fault (1/4 mile away) Id feel and hear tremors as small as 2.0.

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