California Earthquake! (is really not a big deal)

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 17th Mar 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2zq0wryq/
Posted in Wikinut>News>Environment

When I read the news about the Los Angeles Earthquake, I had to find out more about what was going on, and make sure my friends in the area were OK. Social Media was really helpful to me in this respect.

Boldly Dramatic News Headline

The bold headline and dramatic words certainly got my attention. I clicked and read:

This morning, there was an earthquake in Los Angeles, California. It measured 4.0 in the Richter Scale.

Sounds scary. I hope no one was hurt. What about my friends?

Immediately, I went to Facebook to check on some friends who live in California. In no time at all, I got the first reply, in a status update, which nearly made me spit out my breakfast drink.

"Apparently, we're having an earthquake. I saw it on the news, and then felt the house shake. No one else here even woke up."

I "Liked" her status and moved on. I didn't have to tie up phone lines calling her. I did not have to write her letter and wait two weeks or more for her reply. With my "Like," she knew that I cared enough to check on her and that her message was heard. Social media is a great tool, far more important than looking at pictures of cats or playing games (though those are fun, too). In less than five minutes, I went from no knowledge about the earthquake, to slight panic "are my friends OK?," to a renewed feeling of relaxation. I checked in with a few other people via their Facebook status updates. Fine, fine, fine -- all are fine. Several had no idea they had just been in a newsworthy earthquake.

Media Sensationalism of the Everyday Occurence

There remains in me a slight irritation with news media sensationalists who caused the initial panic in an attempt to promote themselves and gain readership. With the potential for Fred Phelps, Sr, to be dying and St. Patrick's Day parades and tributes (and controversies), was there not enough news already? Or do I not understand enough about Californian geography – perhaps closer to the epicenter, there was a greater effect on people and businesses, and my friends are just farther away from the action? Everything is a possibility, and the truth probably exists somewhere in the middle of it all.

I imagine that the shaking associated with a 4.0 earthquake must have felt like the shaking which might occur when one feels in cheap housing near frequented train routes. I've never been in a serious earthquake. I have felt the ground shake from an oncoming train. But the testimony of my friend reminded me of similar comments I have heard from my Japanese friends, largely centered around the idea that when earthquakes are very common, as they are in Japan and California, small ones are as much a part of life as a windy day or city traffic might be for me.

As always, I hope no one was injured in the quake, and that everyone living in a danger zone – which could very well be every one of us – can continue to live life and enjoy it to the fullest. And Happy St. Patrick's Day (to those not offended by such a message -- my husband, for one, is of Scottish ancestry, and does not approve of the Irish holiday)!

Tags

California, Earthquake, Environmental Hazards, Los Angeles, Richter Scale

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar Andres Fragoso Jr
17th Mar 2014 (#)

I got a call from my mom this morning. She is visiting LA and of course she felt it. She was teasing me that she was happy that it was not the Big One.
I forgot how an earthquake feels. I've live in Las Vegas for about 20+ years, and actually felt a few this far out.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Mar 2014 (#)

You are right the media tries to keep everyone in a state of panic so they tend to blow things up a lot.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
17th Mar 2014 (#)

so true Mark...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Mark, for the comment and the star.
Andres -- I'm glad your mother is OK and called to let you know. I'm sure a serious earthquake, like tornado, hurricane, or other disaster, is really unsettling. But when it is not such a big deal we can joke and tease. It is a good thing.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
17th Mar 2014 (#)

Hey me darlin' Phyl I was sitting at my computer and a big jolt happened....I looked up to make sure my books were not falling then got back to writing...I lived through the big one here a few years ago too...helping my brother pick up all the broken glass in his house. Actually I love it when the earth rocks and rolls!!! sorry but I do (not causing harm to anyone) but the sheer exileration of the earth breathing out is wonderful...am sure I will get castigated for this comment...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
17th Mar 2014 (#)

Not by me! I am glad to hear that you are OK, too. I could see your comment as being true -- there are many who love to stare down trains in this area. (I'm not one of them, but neither do I judge.) I've been around while they do, and there is a rush as the train sweeps by. I (being a fraidy cat) can't imagine what it is to actually be on the tracks at the last possible second. And of course some don't make it off the tracks (I haven't witnessed this, with thanks and luck!). In northwest Arkansas, we have lots of hills which shield us from tornadoes, we're too far inland for flooding or hurricanes, and we are not near any fault lines, so that is rare. The "boringness" makes it ideal for me. My fiction has plenty turns and shakes!! But others love the turbulence, and more power to you and to them!

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
19th Mar 2014 (#)

I did experience several in California when I lived there, hope we never get the big one!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Mar 2014 (#)

We cannot hope to outwit Mother Nature, but I hope earthquake housing is something we can achieve!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
20th Mar 2014 (#)

Yes media creates a mountain out of a molehill oftentimes, so it can well end up as the story in the boy who cried wolf. I hope I am not trivializing major quakes that has the potential to kill thousands, but I feel earthquake prone areas have buildings to withstand them - siva

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author avatar vellur
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Glad it was not a big earthquake and everyone is safe.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Siva and Vellur.
Siva, I agree. I don't think trivializing the trivial causes harm. But I think sensationalizing the trivial, as you said with your boy who cried wolf analogy, when everything is newsworthy, then in a true crisis, no one is prepared due to so many false alarms. I also think when our time is up, it's up. We can only do so much to change our path. We get to choose, but in some other reality, the choices have already been made -- infinitely.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
21st Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks Phyl - there is a belief that time has no relevance as, if we can see from far higher our ancestors could be seen alive - just like we see stars twinkling years after they happen. We are groping in the dark still in terms of understanding creation. Maybe life and death are just illusions, dreams - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
22nd Mar 2014 (#)

yes, siva. yes. ;)

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author avatar Carol
25th Mar 2014 (#)

I am glad your friends were ok Phyl, trust the media to dramatise.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carol. That is the truth.

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author avatar Teila
26th Mar 2014 (#)

I'm glad your friends are okay. Just the thought of an earthquake scares me, glad to know that it is not always a matter of life and death.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks, Teila!

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author avatar Kingwell
28th Mar 2014 (#)

I'm thankful that it was not the big one. Good share.

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author avatar Ptrikha
28th Mar 2014 (#)

4.0 Earthquake is not so scary, so why so much hype?

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Mar 2014 (#)

Thanks. Exactly.

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author avatar Sherri Granato
7th Aug 2014 (#)

I was in a California earthquake. I believe it was in 93, cenetered in Big Bear. I lived in nearby San Dimas. Freaky, and not something that I will easily forget.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
7th Aug 2014 (#)

Big earthquakes are scary things, I would feel sure. But when media treats big and small the same, it is hard to appreciate the dangers of the more dangerous ones. Thanks for commenting!!

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