An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter of July 3, 2005
issued from California's Sierra Nevada Foothills

A THREE-SECOND EARTHQUAKE

Last Sunday afternoon I was working at the computer when for half a second I thought someone had walked up to my trailer and kicked it. It was an earthquake, and a good, solid jolt at that, reported as 4.8 on the Richter Scale, with an epicenter just the other side of Lake Tahoe.

I've been in lots of earthquakes. The one that scared me most was in Guatemala City. I was several stories up in a tall building that swayed like crazy and made an awful roar. The quake I enjoyed most was one day when I was leaning back on my backpack resting after hiking through a long mountain valley near Mexico City. That quake came in long, low rolls. It felt like lying in a waterbed. It went on so long that I got motion sick.

The one Sunday was notable for its sharpness and its brevity, lasting only about three seconds.

I don't mind the ones that come on slow and in long, low waves, but these sharp ones give me the creeps. It's just like someone kicks the chair -- a rude, aggressive shock that makes me angry before I realize it's best to be scared.