Aug 23 2011

I Felt The Earth Move Under My Feet

Published by at 3:22 pm under Musings & News

23 August 2011.

I felt the earth move under my feet ... and you may have too!

Earthquakes are very unusual in Pittsburgh but just before 2:00pm, while Karen Lang and I were sitting on a cement bench near Heinz Chapel, I felt the bench swaying back and forth as if we were on a swing. I asked Karen, "Do you feel that?"

Yes, she did.  "I think we're having an earthquake!"

In Smithfield, Virginia my sister was sitting on her sofa, 120 miles from the 5.8 earthquake epicenter in Mineral, Virginia, when the whole house started to shake and sway.  It started at ground level and worked its way up the house's three stories -- almost like a dog shaking off water from head to tail.  Mary was transfixed.  The worst swaying was on the third floor where my niece shouted, "Mom!  The glass is going to fall off the shelves!"

Fortunately the quake didn't last long.  Nothing fell.  Nothing was damaged.

We're all a little surprised.  Just a little excitement in nature today.

(Seismogram image from Wikimedia Commons.  Click on the image to see the original.)

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “I Felt The Earth Move Under My Feet”

  1. Donnaon 23 Aug 2011 at 3:34 pm

    We felt it here in Murrysville too – first time for me!

  2. Jennieon 23 Aug 2011 at 4:23 pm

    I was cutting the grass and oblivious to the earthquake, but my husband felt it at his desk in our house in the north hills. Back in the 80s, I worked at the Cathedral of Learning, on the 17th floor. A small earthquake occurred in a neighboring state, and I experienced it first as a rumbling sound, then the glass doors on my bookcase started rattling and I felt nauseous. What an odd sensation.

  3. Jon 23 Aug 2011 at 7:21 pm

    Was definitely strange. I was sitting at my desk when all of a sudden I could feel my chair moving under me. First I thought it was coming from the boiler room which is located right below my first floor apartment, but then I realized that the vibration was totally different from the one the boilder produces on occasion. Then I thought a big truck was going by on Centre Avenue, but it would’ve had to have been the quietest truck in the world as I didnT hear any significant noise. I could also feel it through my desk and my computer monitor was shaking slightly as was my printer which made a slight rattling noise.

    I wonder what the reaction of all the freshmen moving in at Pitt and their families was.

  4. Marianneon 23 Aug 2011 at 8:30 pm

    Does anyone else wonder what the earthquake may have done to the structural integrity of all those marcellus well casings or the underground pipelines?

  5. Joshon 23 Aug 2011 at 8:36 pm

    We felt it here in Lancaster PA. I’d say it was somewhere in-between your experience and your sister’s, which I suppose makes since geographically speaking. This wasn’t the first earthquake I’d experienced, since we’ve had a local one here within the last couple years. I think that little ones like this a a great way to “shake up” the daily routine! 😉

  6. Rob Protzon 25 Aug 2011 at 10:26 am

    I was home on the 7th floor of my building when the temblor hit. Odd sensation of being off-balance, and then I looked and the lampshade on the corner lamp was swaying, so I knew right away what it was. A lot of people on the ground or at ground level here in the AK Valley didn’t feel it, but even the slightest elevation above ground seems to have made it perceptible.

    I went to Katz Plaza (downtown Pgh) that evening, and George Jones (that’s George C. Jones!) the conga player with Salsamba said “Yeah we got our bell rung this afternoon; that was just to remind us Who’s in charge!” And btw, Salsamba was fabulous as usual! 🙂

  7. Lauren Conkleon 26 Aug 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Here in Washington PA, I felt nothing. I don’t understand why some people felt the quake and some didn’t.

  8. Judy Lessoon 23 Aug 2017 at 8:27 am

    I was sitting in the living room of the house where I grew up in Canonsburg, PA working on the computer. I heard a rumbling and thought that a large truck was coming down the street as the house and the antique lamp next to me started started to shake. It was loud and disturbing enough for me to stand up and look out the window. No truck. The leaves on the trees outside were also shaking but there was no breeze. I sat back down. It came in a wave that traveled from behind me in the southeast toward the northwest. I realized it was an earthquake. My first.

  9. Judith Griggleon 23 Aug 2017 at 6:57 pm

    I came in from my porch and the dining room furniture was shaking–me too. I lived in Avalon. Pgh. It was so weird to be standing and moving. Called my neighbor because I thought I lost it. She confirmed

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