Thursday, April 9, 2009


Alaska has earthquakes. We had one on Tuesday that registered 4.6 on the richter scale and was centered about 18 miles northeast of Anchorage. I was at work sitting at my desk when I felt a jolt. Just a few seconds later, the building shook pretty good and several other employees began making sounds..."that was a pretty good one." Two people standing just outside my office continued talking and looking at a file. Then a final, hard jolt hit and it appeared to be over.

I got up to check outside my office and make sure no one was panicked. My former A/P clerk was very afraid of earthquakes and would always make a dash to the back staircase which is made of cement and is one of the safest places in our building if "the big one" hits.
She had been a little girl sitting in her mother's car with her sister downtown (very close to where the above pic was taken) when the last "big one" hit on Good Friday in 1964. It measured 8.4 on the richter scale. Her mom had gone into a bank and the two girls were petrified out in the car all alone while the road twisted and buckled. Some of Anchorage slid down a hill and into the ocean not too far from where they had been parked. There were 131 deaths recorded from that quake, some due to building collapses and some due to tsunamis.

As I was checking out the employees I realized that my new A/P Clerk looked a little unnerved. She went outside for a cigarette and later another smoker told me she had burst into tears when she got outside. Apparently she is also deathly afraid of earthquakes. When she came back in I talked to her and showed her where the safest places in the building are. Turns out she had been in the restroom when it shook and was trying to get her britches back in place before running out to the front counter. I felt really bad for her.

I guess I've been through so many of them that I don't get too concerned. I too was here during the 1964 quake but was so small that I don't have many memories of it. I've seen lots of pictures though and can understand the fear. The next day my former A/P clerk, who now works downtown on the 5th floor of an office building, called me to say she missed me because I wasn't with her during the quake. At the 5th floor level they were feeling it sway.
We may have volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, but at least we don't have tornados. I've never been through one of those and I hear they can be pretty scary.


Margaret Ann said...

The power of mother nature is unnerving...I am glad this one was of the smaller variety...what an odd coincidence though in the timing of this one so close to Good Friday...I can only imagine how raw the fear in some who experienced the '64 quake was.

tainterturtles said...

Tornado or earthquake, I'd be scared! I've only felt a quake once in my life when I lived in Southern WI, but it was very small.

That was nice of you to talk with that newer employee. I hope she feels better.

Aunt Krissy said...

Nothing like a earthquake to get the old heart pumping!

crochet lady said...

I have never experienced an earthquake. I think I would be a little 'unnerved' if the terra-firma under my feet moved!

A Free Spirit Butterfly said...

You sound a little like me under different circumstances. In law enforcement nothing really shakes me, but others freak out at gunshots, blood, bank robberies, etc....

I'm with the new employee, it would have shook me to the core and I would have cried in public. I always have a fear of dying in a car accident. I pray that I never experience a Tornado or Earthquake. But on another note, my Lord and Savior will hold my hand throughout any ordeal so that thought alone brings me some comfort.

Love, peace and blessings!

Love you and Happy Easter!

K. said...

Earthquakes freak me out! I'd probably react the same as your former AP clerk, but because I'm a pansy, not because of her valid reason.

I was thinking the same thing that Margaret Ann mentioned - about this one being close to Good Friday and the eerie similarities many must have felt.

A Lady's Life said...

ooh scary!
I don't think I'd be afraid of an earthquake in my house cause the first thing I'd do is run outside but if I were in a highrise, that would be a different story. I'd be high tailing it down the fire escape stairs.I always have the 9/11 image in my head and can't imagine how people had time to go down all those stairs and make it out on time.Then you have to also think about the earth opening up too. So I guess if its your time its your time.Only thing to do is keep God in your heart and pray.
Mother nature is God awful scary and beautiful at the same time.