Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Day The Earth Moved


Torontonians are very much on edge this week as the G20 Summit approaches. As if we don't have enough to worry about, what with all the road closures (we've been told to expect "significant delays" as various motorcades make their way back and forth to the airport over the next few days), the threat of violent protest actions, downtown businesses closing for the duration, increased police presence and several subway disruptions already (including one today during rush hour, when an "unaccompanied" suitcase was discovered on a subway platform), compounded by today's warnings about potentially severe weather moving into our area tonight (tornado, anyone?), imagine our shock and slight panic when we experienced a wee bit of an earthquake this afternoon!

It hit about 1:45 p.m. I was sitting at my desk and I could hear the window blinds in my neighbour's office rattling against the window, which made me wonder what he was doing moving them around like that. By the time I had formulated that thought, my chair started to shake, I could feel the building swaying around me and I thought, "Uh oh, we're having an earthquake!" I immediately moved to stand in the doorway of my office because that's the only earthquake safety tip I know but by then, a mere 30 seconds in total, the excitement was over. Right away, several of my colleagues stepped out of their offices to say, "did you feel that??" and to our surprise, several others said, "feel what?" Apparently, those of us with offices on the outside perimeter of our 5th floor location felt it more strongly than those sitting on inside locations.

One of my co-workers claimed the building was shaking because Air Force One was landing at the nearby airport. I tried to explain to her that AF1 is just another jet plane, dozens if not hundreds of which land at the airport every day, but she wouldn't believe me.

This tremor measured 5.0 on the Richter scale and was felt in Ontario, Quebec and New York. The epicentre was located about 60 km north of our nation's capital, Ottawa, in a somewhat remote area so not too much damage resulted and so far, luckily, no major injuries or deaths reported. Apparently earthquakes of this magnitude are felt along this particular fault line about every 20 years or so. It certainly got everyone buzzing here in Toronto.

Makes you wonder if the G20 organizers are prepared for a natural disaster, doesn't it? Of course, the jokes started immediately, such as "better watch out, there might a tsunami on the fake lake!"


Image courtesy of the City of Long Beach, CA

2 comments:

stefanie said...

Hi Cynthia. It's pretty cool to experience an earthquake. We have them in STL from time to time. You almost intuitively know what it is.

hope you are well. Maybe next year we all go to B&B again!

kate mckinnon said...

Air Force One, that is hilarious. Yes, Barack jets around in a massive rocketship, and the force of him landing shakes the very Earth. Or not.