My daughter did not feel yesterday's little 4.3 temblor. In fact, she did not know it had occurred until a message was blasted through the high school's PA system:
This is not a drill. Drop under your desks. This is not a drill.
Unfortunately, the announcement was made several minutes after the earth had stopped shaking. She learned this when her class had ended and she'd had a chance to talk to friends who had felt the quake elsewhere on campus.
That's one of the funny things about earthquakes, especially minor ones: Their perceived strength has a lot to do with where you happen to be when they hit.
After 55 years of living in California, I've been through quite a few temblors (both large and small) -- and at first, I wasn't all that sure why the house had started to rattle yesterday afternoon. We're in a hilly neighborhood, and our 1961 wood frame ranch house vibrates during strong Santa Ana winds, the occasional sonic boom and every time a truck drives by. It takes me a second or two to identify the source of the shaking, and then another second or two to decide how to react.
I opted for running to shelter under the nearest doorway, blocking entrance by Mac, our collie-shepherd mix, who had come running from the living room, where he'd been napping peacefully.
We're pretty close to the quake's Newhall epicenter, which is why we felt it as a jolt followed by rapid shaking. (When you are farther away, the shaking comes in more of a rolling motion, like waves hitting the shore.) Thanks to strong building codes that are honed after each significant quake, a 4-point earthquake doesn't tend to do a lot of damage here... but it was enough to skew the pictures on our walls and knock things off of some of our shelves.
But it had its biggest effect on the poor dog, who whimpered, crawled under my desk and would not leave my side the rest of the afternoon (even following me into the bathroom). He was so sad and pathetic, I could not bear to leave him home alone when it was time to get my daughter from school, so I took him with me.
Last night, my geologist husband opined that yesterday's quake could be a foreshock of something bigger. I'm pretty sure that any smallish quake that isn't an aftershock could be a foreshock, so the chance of more temblors is probably minimal.
They say that animals can feel an earthquake coming, and I've seen evidence of that, especially the year following the 1994 Northridge quake, when we were being hit by aftershocks on a pretty regular basis. My cats could sense one hitting several seconds before any of the humans could feel it. It got to the point where it became my habit to head to the nearest doorway every time one of the cats awoke from a nap and bolted out of the room.
The dog is still clinging to me and is curled up under the desk as we speak. Should I be worried?