Experience California Like Never Before!
This is the first page of the pictures I took following the great Los Angeles Earthquake of January 14, 1994. Instead of starting off with a picture, I thought I'd give you a taste of what it was like. I rate it between Scarey and Shocking. Pick your medicine below. When you're done goofing off, use the forwards arrow to go to the next page.
At 4:30am, I wake up in mid-air. Hey, this feels kinda funny! When I land back on my bed - it throws me back up into the air!
Knowing it is an earthquake from past experience, I quickly duck under the covers, which are going up and down with me. I'm in the air about three feet over my bed. The ground heaves itself ten feet or more into the air, then slams back down. A wooden box, and then the whole shelf, lands on the pillow where my head was a moment ago.
By this time the peace and quiet are no more. Car alarms, home alarms, all of my stuff flying around, brick fences falling down, the creaking and groaning of the house as it tries to not be torn apart, everything in the neighborhood was making noise. Even the ground itself is making a roaring noise as it tortures itself.
Whenever I land on it, my bed keeps flinging me back into the air! Hey - this is getting scary. Lucky it's an up-and-down thrust fault, most quakes are sideways, and throw you across the room and deposit you into a dresser or something. All I could do was duck and fly. Then there were violent and chaotic rocking and rolling motions in all directions continuing to shake me and all my stuff, with lots of noise. Then there was about thirty seconds of settling of the ground.
It's pitch black in my room. In spite of the continuous movement of the ground, I climb over the junk in bed with me. I find room on the floor for my feet, grab yesterday's clothes and head into the living room. Here I have trouble finding room for my feet, as there's glass and debris everywhere. I go outside to get the flashlight from my car, knowing the flashlight in my room will be impossible to find.
The ground is still moving and shaking from continuous aftershocks. I can barely see where I'm going. The sky is very dark, stars are everywhere. Due to our light pollution, it's probably been over a hundred years since LA's sky was so dark. But now there is no electricity. Water is spraying halfway across the yard from a broken pipe. I get the flashlight and go back inside, it's a MESS! Everything went everywhere! Most of what I used to call "possessions", I now call "debris". I find my lost sock, and go back outside. The ground is still moving - it moved continuously till 9pm. My neighbors are OK, except one kid has a bloody nose from bouncing off of his pillow, or something.
Now I can see glows and smoke on the horizon, as people's houses burn to the ground. It will be an hour before fire trucks and cops arrive to help them. When the sun comes up, I go out to take pictures. Most of the fires are out. People's houses burned down and the fire went out because there was nothing left to burn. I can hear the radio in my car, telling of the damage.
At home we fix the leak, and have cold water, although for five days they keep telling us to boil it. How? We have no gas or electricity. We have no telephone. Here I sit in the middle of it all; and people halfway around the world know more than I do, because their televisions work.