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Magnitude 5.6 Quake Shakes Bay Area

I was sitting on the couch reading Sword and Blossom at about 5 minutes past 8 when George came running frantically around the living room. I tried to calm him down when I felt this strong wavy motion overtaking the house. At first it was like a big rig passing by. Then the wavy motion turned into this liquidy, upward jerking motion. The earthquake lasted for well over 30 seconds. Nothing is damaged here although it was quite scary. So do dogs know or sense an earthquake coming?

Magnitude 5.6 – regional moment magnitude (Mw)
Time Tuesday, October 30, 2007 at 8:04:54 PM (PDT)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007 at 3:04:54 (UTC)
Distance from Alum Rock, CA – 8 km (5 miles) NNE (31 degrees)
Milpitas, CA – 11 km (7 miles) E (91 degrees)
San Jose City Hall, CA – 15 km (9 miles) NE (45 degrees)
Sunol-Midtown, CA – 17 km (10 miles) NE (45 degrees)
Coordinates 37 deg. 25.9 min. N (37.432N), 121 deg. 46.5 min. W (121.776W)
Depth 9.2 km (5.7 miles)

19 Responses

  1. Scary! Well it does seem as if dogs do sense approaching danger – but isn’t that exactly what everyone says about dogs?

  2. Interesting story about George. Some animals are reputed to sense impending earthquakes and show agitated behavior — or so I’ve read. Dogs can hear slightly lower sounds than humans, so maybe he heard something that set him off before anything was perceptible to you. Not a fun experience for sure. I dread an experience like this when I’m in your fair city. Hope you have some calm now to restore equilibrium. Give George an extra pat and maybe yourself, too. Glad to hear things are okay.

  3. How scary. Glad to hear there was no damage and hopefully George calmed down soon after it happened.

  4. I am glad that you are ok.

    George is one smart cookie.

  5. It’s weird what animals can sense. Glad to hear you are okay!

  6. We were rocking and rolling here too but out of a family of four (and a cat), I was the only one who felt it! LOL.

  7. Good to read that you didn’t suffer any damage. I remember living in Arcata, CA when the Cape Mendocino earthquakes hit 1992, probably the worst I’ve ever experienced. But living in CA you get used to them.

  8. I can’t even imagine what that feels like! I’m glad everything is ok. And give George a big hug for me.

  9. Seachanges:
    I was reading about how back in 2004, hours before the tsunami washed ashore Phuket, dogs were running frantically in packs away from the beaches. The people couldn’t even make of what happened.

    Greg:
    I think George heard something that was of lower frequency that he was up high in alert. I patted him during the quake.

  10. Iliana:
    When the earthquake struck, he was trying to find something under which he can hide. When he was a puppy, he would sleep underneath my bed but now he has outgrown the space! That was funny.

    Isabel:
    I think this is the reason why labrador retrievers are recruited as guide dogs. They’re friendly and smart.

  11. Danielle:
    I heard goldfish act weirdly too before a disaster.

    pussreboots:
    Really? It was quite strong and lasted for almost a minute.

    Greg:
    I remember the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake…I was still in middle school…the whole bookcase in my room tumbled down. Since that one, I’ve been used to tremor.

    Andi:
    It’s like a rocking boat in water! 🙂

  12. I was at work and our building is on rollers. It was like swaying in a boat. lol

  13. Glad all is well out your way and also glad to once again have proven my faith in dogs. They’re they best! And kudos to all of you who live and love in a place that shakes under your feet–who knows? Maybe that’s the only way to go…

  14. Moby:
    I’m glad you’re ok! So did you get many call for help?

    Mapelba:
    It is! There is no place like San Francisco. If I’ll have to live elsewhere in this country, it will be Hawaii, which is just as expensive.

  15. I’m glad you are okay and just had a little shaking to contend with. I can’t even imagine what that feels like, here on the more stable side of the continent!

  16. Matt, glad you had no damage. I heard about the quake on the radio yesterday. I grew up in southern CA and lived in Northridge when that earthquake hit. I was never worried about earthquakes until then. Now I live in blessedly earthquake-free country. Just have to worry about the weather but there is usually pretty good warning. I think animals are more attuned to the environment and so can know that an earthquake is coming, not days before more like seconds before. I think they can both feel and hear it.

  17. Thom:
    Thanks buddy! You’re living on a stable rock! I think the shaking disquiets my dog more than it does me! He was still a bit on alert and panicky moments after it stopped. He must have heard the movement of earth.

    Stefanie:
    Thank you. I remember the Northridge tremor back then as one of my close friends went to Cal state Northridge. I tried calling for hours before I could get through his line.

    Animals are probably more prune to sounds of frequencies that lie outside of human detection, as well as the slightest hint of earth motion. Now I’ll have to learn spotting my dog’s tell-tale sign! 🙂

  18. I’m glad you are okay and nothing is damaged. We had an earthquake here in the Seattle area 4 or 5 years ago, and I’ve never been the same! It really scared me, and it’s hard to get past that feeling of the earth beneath our feet not being as solid as we thought! My husband is in the Bay Area right now to work on his mother’s house in Alameda, and we’re hoping there are no more rocking and rolling!

  19. Robin:
    There has been series of aftershock that are not perceptible. The paper was saying that there is a 67% chance of an earthquake at magnitude 6.5 or higher within the next 20 years. This evokes emergency preparedness.

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