The Great American Flyover

No WiFi from Denver to Los Angeles. Talk about 21st Century problems! That gave me lots of time to look down as we flew west.

I enjoy geography and geology. I enjoy gazing out airplane windows trying to figure out why the Earth looks the way it does. So much west of the Rockies is desolate and inhospitable.

Some of the photos accompanying this blog post have been enhanced, because the land depicted is nearly featureless with neither bright brights nor dark darks!

Even where there’s no water now, it’s obvious water carved the land. There are deep channels and canyons in the dustiest of places.

Not all the points of interest are natural. From time-to-time there are human settlements. Why? Why there? Who would go there?

I had two hours of this kind of pondering before we hit the Southland. It’s good to have a window seat.

IMG_7944 Flying DEN to LAX_1

IMG_7945 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7943 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7941 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7932 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7959 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7957 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7955 Flying DEN to LAX

IMG_7952 Flying DEN to LAX

I’m The Science Guy: Quake Edition

Earthquakes are felt farther in the east than the west because our crust is older, colder and harder. It just transmits vibration more efficiently.

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.

As a meteorologist I am expected to be a science generalist. I’m supposed to know a little about a lot of scientific pursuits. I know quakes!

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.

The quake was felt most strongly in a southwest to northeast line. That’s why Connecticut experienced some of the shake.

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.