a quake! a quake!

It’s a quiet, peaceful night
The moon is shining bright
Giving not a hint of what’s in store
A few hours before morning
Without a single warning
Something strange begins to move the floor

A quake, a quake
The house begins to shake
You’re bouncing ‘cross the floor
And watching all your dishes break

You’re sleeping; there’s a quake
You’re instantly awake
You’re leaping out of bed
And shouting “Oh for heaven’s sake!”

I ran outside with neighbors
Their faces full of shocks
That’s because I’m standing there
In nothing but my socks

A Quake! A Quake!, from the album Yakko’s World

(Full lyrics here [])

What the hell is that all about? It’s from the Animaniacs CD Yakko’s World. Why am I quoting it? Because there was a earthquake near my parents house outside of C’ville. Now strange as it may sound this is not too rare. It’s happened a few times in my life. The first time I remember I was four or five. I was at the babysitters in her basement with about five other kids. I was on one of those big red balls with the handle on it that your bounce up and down on and then the ground shook while I was in the air and I don’t know what happened. Next thing I knew my head met the metal pole that is part of the house support. Yes there was a earthquake, a 2.8 on the Richter scale and what did I do? Head banged with a steel pole and got a concussion. Oh… man just thinking about it makes my head hurt.

Then there was the ‘not-an-earthquake’ that registered 2.5 on the Richter scale. When I was 19 I was driving down the Interstate near my house and the whole ground shook for a few seconds. I thought it was an earthquake—everyone did. The radio said that people where reporting the ground shaking in several counties. The USGS said the shaking registered 2.5. Later the story changed that it was a sonic boom from some Air Force plane.

The story I hear, which I can find no verification of on the internet, so tinfoil hats on was that apparently the shaking had nothing to do with tectonics but everything to do with aeronautics. See an SR-71 goes about Mach 3 or so. So fast in fact that the pilot has only nominal control over the plane and the landing procedure is controlled by a man on the ground. When the thing slows down it usually does so very high up in the atmosphere where there is little air—thus not carrying the shock wave very far. Story goes that at the time supersonic military plane was coming in for a landing —in California! They were training a new controller and it seems that the newbie slowed the plane down a little too fast a little too low in the atmosphere and the shock wave caused a 2.5 earthquake in seven counties! I don’t know if the whole plane thing is true but that’s what they said! ‘Believe it or not…’