Thursday, August 5, 2010
I WAS TALKING ON MY CELL PHONE late yesterday afternoon about 6 pm when suddenly I began to feel a wild shaking and hear a loud rumbling where I was standing.
Stop! I said to the person on the other end who was in her car, I think my washing machine is having a nervous breakdown---it sounds like it's going airborne in the laundry room! I gotta go stop it!
But wait! I thought, my washer and dryer aren't even on...
The noise and shaking continued for 20-30 seconds. Then it stopped dead. I finished my conversation fast, hung up and started looking around for the source of the commotion, thinking I was dehydrated and starting to hallucinate.
Then a neighbor, ran down to my door: Did you feel that? Did you hear that? It was an earthquake!
Of course! I replied,---it's an earthquake!
Talk of the quake spread quickly and first reports had the epicenter in Ogden, Utah. By this morning, however, the center was said to be located here in Jackson Hole, less than thirty miles away. A nice little 4.8 magnitude. By all accounts it was fairly well-behaved, only shaking up chandeliers and rattling dishes and nerves.
Today just before 9 am, I sent an email to a relative on the latest quake news from Jackson Hole, then went to back to put on my shorts when the noise and shaking started all over again! This time I knew what was happening, so I grabbed the rest of my clothes and ran outside on the deck to finish dressing. It lasted about as long as the first one fifteen hours earlier. With a similar intensity.
Was this an aftershock, or was a bigger one coming? I wondered.
Of course, there's no way to know, but the reality of it is that fault lines run all up and down the Jackson Hole geological formation---and Yellowstone---and earthquakes have and will continue to happen here. Will there be A BIG ONE one day? If so, the real danger for Jackson and little hamlets like Moose, Moran and Wilson in the Valley is if IT should cause Jackson Lake Dam to fail, releasing millions of gallons of water from the lake behind the dam down into The Hole through the Snake River watershed.
We never thought a flood the size of the May 1 flood in Nashville could ever happen....until, that is, it happened. Few people think it will ever really happen here in Jackson. But if it does, Katy. Bar. The. Door. It would no doubt cause a number of fatalities, though with adequate warning of the tidal wave/tsunami rolling down the Snake River valley, many people would have time to evacuate to higher ground. But quite a lot of very, very expensive real estate would be washed away in a matter of hours. It may never happen. But it could.
The longer I live, the more I've learned to never say NEVER!...never.
Posted by Webutante at 3:53:00 PM