Terremoto

English: USGS map of Yellowstone Caldera showi...

English: USGS map of Yellowstone Caldera showing earthquake locations. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first earthquake I experienced was the Yellowstone event in August of 1959.  Maybe I was 5.  All I remember really is seeing my mother upset in the middle of the night.  We had passed through Yellowstone that day and were in a motel room just west of there.  She thought a semi had rumbled off the road just outside but couldn’t see anything.

Morning Glory poolWe returned to Yellowstone when I was ten, camping in our brand new Nimrod tent trailer.  I do remember that trip, especially the bears banging the trash cans outside in the dark.  We climbed our first mountain, Mt. Washburn.  Gazed in marvel at

Morning Glory pool. I took some shaky black and white photos with a small square camera.

The Mountain That Fell

The Mountain That Fell

The devastation from the earthquake was apparent.  A highway disappeared into a lake.  A house/cabin sat half-submerged.  Giant boulders rested across the valley from the mountains where they rolled down from.  Huge.

Rolled down the mountain, across the valley and up the other side

Rolled down the mountain, across the valley and up the other side

In time, I made sure our kids saw the park, too.  Our youngest was ten. I just looked at the photos;  there’s a camera around her neck.    I used to hear them whine about being the only kids who’d never been to Disney World.  I pointed out that they had climbed a mountain, camped on an ocean beach, and seen every waterfall and cave that we’d ever been close to.  They got it.  I still don’t think they’ve been to Disney World.

My second earthquake (4 of the 6 have been in Illinois) was in the 70’s when I awoke in the night with my bed bouncing up and down.  No.  I didn’t do drugs.  {And now, #7.  Italy again.  Poolside.}

The third was in the 90’s.  I was sitting in the car during Intrepid’s dance lesson when the car started a slow up and down, very subtle bounce.  Sustained.  I looked at the railroad tracks:  empty.  Hmmm.  I listened to the news that evening.  A deep quake had occurred in South America but had been felt in skyscrapers as far away as Toronto.  I was excited so I called the US Geologic guys out in Colorado to report it.  I’m not sure if they made a note of it, but I thought they’d want to know.

The fourth was ten years ago north of Bologna, and the bed was flying sideways in the dark.  Giant headlines in the paper: TERREMOTO.  (I learned a couple other words that trip, including “andiamo”–what John Wayne yelled every time he jumped on his horse to go chase the bad guys–and “basta”–what the waiter kept asking.  I thought he was saying “more pasta?”    “No, no.  I’m stuffed.  No more.”   He just wanted to clear my plate.

The most recent two were in central Illinois.  Again, a bed shook, but first the windows rattled.  Then, later that morning, the aftershock.  I was in the upstairs of a barn.  It swayed.

New Madrid fault and earthquake-prone region c...

Interesting that the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12 rang a bell in Philadelphia.  An eye witness said the land rolled so much that trees rocked horizontally.  The Mississippi was re-routed.  They say the fault is due to slip again.  Maybe overdue.  The VA  down that way took the top six stories off its Hospital and reinforced the lower twelve stories.  Just in case.

There is chatter about how the Yellowstone caldera is heating up/acting up/lifting up.  Last time she blew, there was ashfall all the way through Nebraska.  If my search for Forrest Fenn’s TheThrill of the Chase treasure takes me out that way, maybe I’ll tarry scant  if the earth moves.

English: "At Yellowstone and some other v...

English: “At Yellowstone and some other volcanoes, some scientists theorize that the earth’s crust fractures and cracks in a concentric or ring-fracture pattern. At some point these cracks reach the magma “reservoir,” release the pressure, and the volcano explodes. The huge amount of material released causes the volcano to collapse into a huge crater—a caldera.” From nps.gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Like Jimmy Buffet sang, “I don’t know where I’ma gonna go when the volcano blows.”

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