Sure we don't get them very much in our fair city, but if anyone else has seen the TLC's disastrous earthquake forecast, we could be screwed. Those nice quaint townhouses on your block ain't gonna shimmy with the quake and will likely just crumble away. But let's not be too alarmist here. The last quake we had in the city was on January 17, 2001 when a 2.5 "rocked" the city. The quake's epicenter was allegedly on 82nd and 2nd Ave (Gothamist used to enjoy some Chinese food and Blue Hawaii's there at Empire Wok). The last earthquake in New York State was on August 27, 2003 and only measured at a 2.2.
Thanks to Gothamist's friend Abi, who recently transplanted herself to the more shake-prone city of San Francisco, we were pointed to some interesting information about earthquakes from the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey). You can see all earthquakes with magnitude greater than 2.5 catalogued in the last week with maps, discussions, and a dizzying amount of data. Our favorite facts were:
- Moonquakes ("earthquakes" on the moon) do occur, but they happen less frequently and have smaller magnitudes than earthquakes on the Earth. It appears they are related to the tidal stresses associated with the varying distance between the Earth and Moon. They also occur at great depth, about halfway between the surface and the center of the moon.
- Although both are sea waves, a tsunami and a tidal wave are two different unrelated phenomenona. A tidal wave is a large sea wave produced by high winds, and a tsunami is a sea wave caused by an underwater earthquake or landslide (usually triggered by an earthquake) displacing the ocean water.
If we watch closely, we can watch the San Andreas Fault Zone move at the blistering speed that your fingernails grow (2 inches/year). And after 15 million years, San Francisco and Los Angeles will be right next to each other. Awesome commute. Most importantly (and purposefully left until last...),
"there is no such thing as 'earthquake weather'. Statistically, there is an equal distribution of earthquakes in cold weather, hot weather, rainy weather, etc. Furthermore, there is no physical way that the weather could affect the forces several miles beneath the surface of the earth. The changes in barometric pressure in the atmosphere are very small compared to the forces in the crust, and the effect of the barometric pressure does not reach beneath the soil."
Well as long as we can catch a cab to get the hell outta here when we do get hit with one, until then, we will probably skip wearing the bike helmet to bed.