First Earthquake

19 June 2012 (Tuesday), 8:55pm
Our first earthquake! 
And 5.3 magnitude at that!

Family holiday in Trafalgar, Victoria, Australia. Was just done with the toilet. Stu getting the kids ready for bed. That’s when the earthquake hit.

What A Feeling!

I had just entered the kitchen-cum-living room where Dad was. I heard the rumble of a “wind” picking up till shutters and roof rattled strongly. Dad turned around and I was looking to him for answers. At the strongest point of the episode, I felt vibrations, but that was all. Didn’t see anything shake. I still thought it was a mighty gale when Dad blurted out tremor. Only then did I realise I had just experienced my very first earthquake!

As Dad was seated in his reclining chair,  he felt the vibrations and the floor move. Stu felt everything shake. For both Dad and Stu, this was the strongest they had ever experienced. Andrew and Aaron were in the lounge room (which had been converted into their bedroom and the kids’ play cum TV room) with Mom. Mom said everything shook so much that she thought the hanging mirror was going to drop to the floor and smash. In the end, only a free standing photo frame dropped to the floor and the frame broke (while the glass panel didn’t). Mom said the boys’ felt and saw everything, and their eyes were as big as saucers. Ann had already crawled into bed (at the last level of a game on her iPhone), so she felt her whole bed shake. Andrea was too young to understand it all, so she was oblivious to it. All she wanted was to crawl into bed to sleep.

The Low-down

On the radio, after the news, the tremor was the hottest topic with callers calling in to share their experiences. Australian geological website was clogged by traffic. Stu got onto the US Geological Survey website. It registered the quake as 5.2 magnitude on the Richter scale, 9+km underground, and had its epicentre southwest of Wilson’s Promontory / southwest of Moe. The site’s historical records of quakes across Victoria showed past quakes being between 4-5 on the Richter scale. So, tonight’s is possibly the strongest yet. Overnight, other Australian authorities revised the magnitude up to 5.5, and then down to 5.3. Still, it was the strongest in Victoria in 109 years!

Who’d Have Thought

Amazing thing is we were on the road where the epicentre was located just this afternoon (just some hours ago)! Dad had driven us all past the Trafalgar Scenic Lookout, through Thorpdale, to Mirboo North, so the kids could have a walk through Mirboo North, a run in its park and a whale of a time in the park’s playground. … The epicentre was between Thorpdale and Moe; 5km away from Trafalgar where Mom & Dad (OZ)’s house is.

Luckily I was not still on the toilet!

The Reactions

Ann, as expected, moved into the lounge room to sleep on the couch, to be with the boys (instead of alone in her room). Of all other nights, this was the night the hallway light (hallway being just next to the lounge room) had to be left on. Heard Stu remind Dad not leave the hallway light on as he turned in, else the kids will all be shitting in their pants!

Our first earthquake. And what an experience it was! Fun, interesting, but also scary!


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