Earthquakes Feel Stronger on the East Coast! Science Says So!


As we all freak about the possibility of a New York City hurricane — FYI: Mayor Bloomberg says, for what it’s worth, that any evacuation orders won’t be given until late Friday if they’re given at all — we can for a brief moment feel vindicated about something else in the natural disaster arena that happened just days ago. Remember when California was, like, you East Coasters don’t even KNOW what an earthquake is? Well, it’s true, we don’t, or most of us didn’t, until Tuesday. But also, earthquakes feel stronger on the East Coast! Even the L.A. Times says it’s so.

According to U.S. Geological Survey seismologist Lucy Jones, the reason that we felt Virginia’s 5.8 magnitude earthquake all the way in New York City and on up to Canada, is because the old, cold, hardened crust on the East Coast transmits earthquake waves better, which means they spread out further.

In California, by comparison, there are many faults, and “a relatively warm, ‘squishy’ young crust,” which means that the energy from earthquakes is absorbed more and dies off sooner.

There is some sort of metaphor here.

Old, cold, hard rocks: We thank you for a singular experience this Tuesday. Now, back to that hurricane.

Earthquakes in California more mellow than on crusty East Coast [LAT]