Valentine, You Make the Earth Move Under My Feet

It was Valentine’s Day. I was sitting here at my desk, minding my own business and working on a future post when my desk and chair began vibrating. As the desk and chair vibrated, something began rattling. I’m not sure if it was something on my desk or the glass in the windows above the desk. It may have been the glass because it sounded a bit like dishes or glasses rattling in a cupboard.

Here were my thoughts, all passing through my mind in rapid succession:

Wait, is my desk vibrating?

My chair’s vibrating, too and things are rattling on my desk.

Is there a big helicopter flying over really low?

No, can’t be a helicopter, those sometimes rattle the windows but never shake my desk and chair.

OMG, it’s an earthquake! What should I do? How long will it last? Should I go outside, isn’t that what people do?

Yes, I’ll go outside, it’s raining but we’re having an earthquake!!!



Photo Source


I was about half way down the staircase when I realized it had stopped. I slowly, cautiously walked back upstairs and sat down. You would think the office had been the cause of the earthquake as reluctant as I was go back in and sit down. lol

I turned on the TV…nothing. No interruption of the programming, no crawler going across the bottom, just the same mindless television programming that’s always on.

PEOPLE, the earth just shook! Why are you showing a dog food commercial?! I need info here!

Then I remembered having listened to a podcast recently where the person being interviewed was raving about the impact of Twitter. He said anytime anything big is going on and he wants information right away, he goes to Twitter.

I clicked onto Twitter and typed “earthquake in Georgia” into the search box. Yep, lots and lots of tweets showed up, people saying, “We just had an earthquake!” Need to know something right away, go to Twitter!

I hopped on Facebook and posted about it and it was amazing how many folks had felt it. It turned out to be a shallow earthquake, only 3 miles down and a 4.4 or 4.1 magnitude, depending on which source you read. It didn’t feel as violent as the one we had here about 4-5 years ago that woke me from a dead sleep.

The Earthquake a Few Years Ago
That one lasted around 45 seconds and felt like a GIANT from a storybook fairytale had a hold of the foot of my bed and was trying to shake me out of it. Max kitty dove off the bed and flew down the hall like the house was on fire. I remember that so clearly because I had never seen him do that before.

Since I was sound asleep when that one happened, in my groggy, sleep-induced stupor I thought the fan on the bedside table was touching the bed and causing a vibration. Never would have crossed my mind we were having an earthquake because, we don’t have those here!  Right.

I got up, walked around the foot of the bed, moved the table further from the bed, got back in the bed, felt no more shaking and went back to sleep. Next morning as I was driving to work, the radio newscasters were all talking about the earthquake the night before. I about drove off the road! WHAT! That was an earthquake??? Wowza! No wonder Max had freaked out, he didn’t like a giant shaking the bed anymore than I did!

California, you can come get your earthquakes. We are all filled up here with tornadoes, ice storms and the occasional hurricane, thank you very much.

Do you live in SC, NC, GA, TN? Did you feel the earthquake last night? Have any family members who did?

How long did it last where you were? Did you know it was an earthquake right away or did you think it was a low-flying plane, helicopter or something else at first?

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  1. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    I’m in Tennessee, near Nashville and thankfully, we didn’t feel it. I say that because I’ve been through enough earthquakes in California and Alaska to last a life time. They are scary! It always felt as though the ground beneath my feet just suddenly disappeared and I was all off balance and sort of floating mid -air. I’m telling you, Georgia has had it’s share all of a sudden. 😮 Between freezing and being shaken, you’re more than ready for Spring, I’m sure.

    • I know I definitely am! Frozen and shaken…that sounds like the directions for a recipe. 😉 I didn’t know they had them in Alaska. I don’t think I could ever get used to that. The very ground you stand on should never move! Definitely unnerving!

      • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

        Haha, I was thinking the same thing. Now we know how a frozen margarita feels, I guess. And yes, Alaska had more earthquakes than California. I know yours is probably a very unusual event, but if there is any reason to believe you may have more, you might wanr to check your homeowners insurance. We’ve always had to add a special earthquake rider because your normal insurance doesn’t cover earthquake damage. There is a fault here in Tennessee and I wouldn’t be surprised if it heads your way, though I don’t know for sure. Yet few people here think to have the coverage. I know warm weather wouldn’t fix an earthquake but being warm and shaken sounds better than being frozen and shaken, so come on, Spring! 😀

    • We live in Augusta and had our electricity and heat out for 44 hours with all of the ice. Our power came on (We LOVE Georgia Power & ALL of the people from Ala & Fla & Tenn that came to help!) at 8:00 p.m. Friday evening. The earthquake occurred at about 10:23 p.m. that same night. I dashed out into the back yard convinced it was the rest of the top of our huge pine tree that had come crashing down. My husband and son went flying into the front yard convinced a tree had fallen out front along with half of our neighbors. There was nothing to see anywhere. A LOT of trees and branches fell this week due to the ice storm. When they came back inside our son checked twitter and immediately “earthquake” started popping up. I’ve never felt one before. Our daughter is a nurse and called from the hospital to ask “what was that?” They felt the shaking inside the hospital. She described it as “the hospital itself was shaking”. Scary thought! Our concern was how close was it to Clarks Hill Dam because there is a fault line which runs beneath the dam. It is a good reminder to all of us that these things do happen and a visit to the website may be useful at some point. All of you who have lived in Alaska and California are old hands at this. As a southern who has never felt it before I must say how brave you are! I keep waiting for an aftershock. Hopefully there will not be any! The Augusta Chronicle local newspaper headlines today read: “First the Shivers, Then the Shakes!” That pretty much sums up our week!

      • You were really close to it, too…so I’m sure you felt it a lot more than I did. So sorry you guys got such a horrible scare, especially after all the ice mess. How long did the shaking last at your home? It was only around 10 seconds here…but certainly long enough! I heard Glenn Burns say later that evening that they would be inspecting some dams near the area of the epicenter. That would be so scary to be living near a dam during a time like that. I’m glad you guys are okay. I hope we don’t have anymore of those!

  2. The Treasures says

    We are in Canton, Georgia, and definitely felt it! The windows shook, the beds and remotes moved side to side. I don’t want to go through that again, even though it was considered small!

  3. We didn’t feel it in Gainesville, but my cousins in Augusta did! Scary! Gives u pause for thought!?!?

  4. We live just a few miles south of Charlotte. Just like you, I was sitting at my desk and on my computer working on the sequel to the new book I just had released. The window beside me shook as if a gust of wind had just blown full force upon it. There’s a train track just down the hill from us, and what I call the Midnight Express, normally flies through here like a screaming banshee. That’s what I thought it was until I realized it lasted only a second or two and there was no train a’coming! An email alert from our news station popped up on my cell phone with news of the earthquake. We’re about 85 miles away from it, but definitely felt it.

    • Screaming banshee…lol, love that description! I guess I need to subscribe to an email alert. Now that I think about it, I subscribe to weather alerts on my iPad. Wonder if they include earthquakes in that. I’ll have to check to see if one is showing on there. 85 miles is close!

  5. Yes indeed, Alaska has big earthquakes. Growing up here in the Seattle area, our big earthquakes were actually Alaska earthquakes! Oh, we have our own, too. Very disconcerting plus we are waiting for the “big one” that is supposed to hit someday. I am not quite as afraid of them as I am of tornadoes but maybe because we don’t know ahead of time. Here’s one of them we strongly felt in Seattle:

    • Wow, a magnitude of 9.2…that’s the biggest I’ve ever heard of! Here’s what it says in Wikipedia:
      “Lasting nearly three minutes, it was the most powerful recorded earthquake in U.S. and North American history, and the second most powerful ever measured by seismograph. It had a moment magnitude of 9.2, making it the second largest earthquake in recorded history.” I can’t even imagine one that size! So they even effect Seattle when they occur in Alaska…had no idea!

  6. Well, I’m in Los Angeles and I didn’t feel it- thankfully! I hate them and it’s been a while since we’ve had one. They can just stay away! They say you shouldn’t run outside because you could be thrown, fall down (fall down stairs), or there might be live wires hanging. You should stay where you are or get under a heavy table or desk. You’re actually pretty safe in your bed unless you have some huge chandelier swaying above you. In your office your best bet is under your desk. Twitter is awesome as is the USGS site to get confirmation of strength. I have an EQ app on my phone that I can set to specific intensity to notify me or not. LOL, my husband thinks having the App is silly because he says the strong one I feel will be only one I need to know about. Stay safe! 🙂

    • Yep, that’s what I’ve been hearing from folks…get under furniture instead. I’ll have to remember that just in case we ever have another one. Your husband is probably right. lol 🙂

  7. Well, we were living in Alaska 1n 1964 when they had the BIG quake. We were in the midst of clearing our quarters when it struck. We were stationed on a small base called Wildwood station. It took down our water tower and when it went we thought a bomb had hit! No communications either. Our family did not know what had happed to us. A ham operator for a town close to home got thru after about a week and let them know we were ok.It also took out all the bridges between Kanai and Anchorage. We flew our car out on what the Air Force called a flying boxcar. They were flying bridge parts in and we were lucky enough to get our car on a return flight. We then drove the Alcan Highway down to Ft. Lewis so my husband could be discharged. What a trip! So, yes they do have BIG quakes!

  8. About 2 years ago, a gardening friend from our church invited me and another church friend for lunch. It was summertime and we had lunch on her enclosed porch. She was about to serve our meal and the jalousie windows and door started shaking and it felt like you were on a moving sidewalk like Atlanta airport has. We all looked at each other in wonder and I think in fear too. We don’t have earthquakes here either and either she and the other guest suggested turning on the tv and sure enough it had been an earthquake..when we turned on the tv, the news showed employees out in the street from high rise office buildings over in Arlington,Va. Within the last 5 years or so there have been tornados hit in the warning I guess.
    If anything on her wall or cabinets or in her house was damaged by a fall, we never heard it and she never said anything afterwards.. We were visiting in San Francisco in Oct. 1999 and we turn on the tv the next morning when we got up to find there had been an earthquake the night before and we knew nothing about it, so it must not have been too strong. So I know what you felt like. If it is unusual in your area, it is hard to believe it happened but you felt it and others did too, so you knew it was real.

  9. Glad to hear it was a small one. I live in Massachusetts. We have small earthquakes all the way up to Maine. No matter where we live the weather can be unpredictable.

  10. I live in Indy, nothing here. We are on the New Madrid fault. Kinda scary if you know anything about it:
    Wonder if the sink hole in Bowling Green had anything to do with it?
    The Hubs and I were just talking about it…we think maybe had to be something about the plates shifting though, of course we are not seismologists, but since we are more populated and there is lots more news about events we hear more about things going on now more.

  11. I felt it here in Commerce, GA; it happened just as I was about to doze off for the night. For some reason, it didn’t feel especially strong to me, it may have been because I was half asleep. My first thought was that one of our cats had slipped into our room and jumped on the bed. I also remember hearing something, but also thought a cat might be pawing at the door. Since it was nothing more, I went on to sleep. I had no idea it was an earthquake and didn’t find out until I saw the news this morning!

  12. I thought of you when I heard there had been an earthquake last night. I am glad you are okay. I does seem we are having more earthquakes than ever before. If I am upstairs I always feel the intensity more than if I am downstairs.

  13. Yes, we felt it in Columbia, SC and I thought the same thing. I thought it was a really low flying helicopter as well. But then I never heard the helicopter.

  14. I live in Acworth and felt it. I’ve always heard that the Chattahoochee River was a fault. Scary!

  15. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says

    Susan, I am glad you did not run outside during the quack. . One of the dangers of having a brick house is the bricks falling off in an earthquake. Many injuries and some deaths are caused by falling brick. Getting under a desk or in a doorway under a load bearing beam that will hold up the upper floors is probably safest. Here is a good link for more information. And do check into earthquake insurance
    In 2001 we had a large earthquake called the Nisqually quake. It measured 6.8 and lasted about 45 seconds. It felt like 4.5 minutes. I was working in a cash vault under a 44 story skyscraper at the time. That was creepy.

  16. Come On! Snow storms and earthquakes in Atlanta, it’s like Sherman all over again. You guys have had your share of crazy on the weather front lately. Hope that’s the end and there wasn’t any damage. Those earthquakes are short but powerful.

  17. Nancy B of Lake Stevens says

    Sorry, forgot the link

  18. We live in Charlotte. I didn’t feel anything but my husband did and so did our son.

  19. I felt it here in Loganville, GA. (half way between Atlanta and Athens) My first experience was about 22 years ago when I lived in Lawrenceville, GA . We had one there just like the one last night. Very strange feeling that I could live without!

  20. I felt it in Lenoir, NC. I’m originally from Calif. And have felt much stronger ones but I definitely knew this was an earthquake.

  21. Susan Jones says

    Hey, I am over here in Athens and did not feel a thing, but many of my neighbors were posting on our neighborhood facebook page that they did. Then, this morning, my husband, who had already gone to bed when it happened, said he felt it because it woke him up! But said when the kids and I didn’t come running in the bedroom he just shrugged it off and thought maybe someone had just slammed a door too hard……..I had also wondered, like previous commenter, Claudia, if it was in any way related to the Bowling Green sinkhole earlier this week……eerie………..

  22. I live in California, so earthquakes are all too familiar. I was here in 1989 during the Loma Prieta quake. I’ll never forget it.

    This is the info from Wikipedia: The Loma Prieta earthquake, also known as the Quake of ’89 and the World Series Earthquake,[4] was a major earthquake that struck the San Francisco Bay Area of California on October 17, 1989, at 5:04 pm local time. Caused by a slip along the San Andreas Fault, the quake lasted 10–15 seconds[1] and measured 6.9 on both the moment magnitude scale[5] and on the Richter magnitude scale.[1] The quake killed 63 people throughout Northern California,[2] injured 3,757[3] and left some 3,000–12,000[1][6][7][8] people homeless.

    I’m glad you are all okay.

  23. Susan, I live in the same county as you. Hubby, daughter, and I were in the kitchen. My son was on the computer in another room; he started hollering that things were moving (there is a bookcase in the room). We brushed him off and told him nothing moved. Imagine my surprise when I read the AJC this morning and read there was an earthquake last night in Augusta! The 3 of us had not noticed it in the kitchen, but our son did in the room he was in.

  24. Hahaha! We feel earthquakes in Hawai’i quite often. In fact, if you go to a USGS site and monitor earthquakes in Hawai’i, it will show there is something going on almost all the time – some are strong enough to feel and some are not.. When the earth shakes here, most of us go straight to Facebook…and find everybody else on our feed who lives on the island is posting about it…

  25. I know what you mean! Living in IL, I was stupefied to feel the house shake a few years back.
    Good thinking to head to Twitter! The world will never be the same. We don’t have to feel alone or frightened when we can educate ourselves so immediately!

    Be safe!



  26. My hubby and I felt it in Monroe, GA. We thought it might have been a tree falling because we’ve had so many of those around GA due to the recent weather. He went out and looked around the yard with a flashlight looking for a fallen tree which of course we never found. I’ve felt earthquakes before here but all were small ones like this one. They’re so few and far between that I never think of them first as a reason for the shaking.

  27. Nothing here in Apex, NC, but my husband snores a 6.5 on the Richter scale, so I wouldn’t have felt it even if it had torn through our bedroom. My son was in Greensboro, NC last night and although the news reported that they might have felt it as far as that, he said he didn’t feel anything.

    Wikipedia reports that SC has a history of earthquakes: August 31, 1886 (a 7.3), 1903, 1907, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1923, 1924, 1945, 1952, 1958, 1959, 1960 (2), 1964, 1971, 2002, and the latest one of course – 2014.
    Wow! If ever there was a good excuse to buy a stalwart desk to hide under!

  28. They just make a person feel so impotent. I mean if we can’t depend on the ground… Scary stuff. We have been having freeze quakes in MO. Large booms they say are from the frozen crust shifting. I don’t think it’s any stretch to think the New Madrid a Fault might be shifting to cause them… Brrr,,,

  29. Hi, Susan,
    I thought of you when they said the earthquake was felt in Atlanta! The tips you’ve gotten are all good, but one thing we have learned in So CA is to ALWAYS keep slip-on shoes or slippers by your bed. If there is an unusually strong “shaker” you are at great risk from broken glass in the house. My son-in-law was right on top of the Northridge Earthquake years ago and as he ran through the house checking for family members he was feet were badly cut by all the breakables that hadn’t survived!! You sure have lots of topics for conversation from this winter!!! Take care, Rosie

  30. Susan, glad you and other people on here are o.k. We have had a few up here in the Okanagan and when we lived in Vancouver, because they are on the fault.
    Had a real shaker when we visited Victoria on Vancouver Island and we had my mother over from England, we tried to convince her is was a truck on the highway, but she was a canny Scot and did not believe us.
    Another time when we were in California at Disneyland, I did not want to go on one of these crazy rides and chose to browse the shops. Suddenly the glass in the shop rattled and I thought it was the ride causing it and as we had just got off a ship, thought I hadn’t quite got my sea legs beneath me. I went outside the shop and sat on a bench with an older lady and she asked me if I had felt the quake. She was not at all perturbed, said they had them all the time. Meanwhile I was worried about my hubby and friends up in the ride. No one else seem to bother, all in a days work in California.

  31. We had it all this week in Greenville, S.C…. a rare 3 day snowfall plus the earthquake!

  32. Louise Adkins says

    I live in Loganville and felt the movement. Thought I was imagining it, thought the garbage truck might have been coming after our “snow storm”, thought the guy down the road was flying his helicopter late and low, and wondered if someone had broken in through the basement but now I know it wasn’t my imagination.
    Very strange sensation!

  33. Technicolor says

    Raised in CA and remember many of the devastating ones. The closest to home was when the freeway and VA hospital was in it’s path. Memorable because we were outside on the patio and you could see the ground/patio move in waves like the ocean. Do not ever go outside, you are far safer indoors and not under furniture. Find a ground floor opening with a structure around it. A closet works (with solid doors), take everyone with you. I remember the Alaska one too, the worst in my lifetime and still saw the major aftermaths of what it had done many years later. Any size can really make one feel vulnerable. Glad it wasn’t any higher than a 4, going to 5 can cause damage not ready for. And glad you are safe. .

  34. Carolyn Price says

    How scary, Susan. The first time one hit in Illinois, I was a sleeping 15 or 16 year-old and I came out of the bedroom and told my Mom to turn off the vacuum because it was making my bed vibrate! : ) If you were standing, you didn’t feel it. People who were still in bed did. The displacement across the body was greater than the displacement across your two feet.
    Here in Southport, NC, in a stilt home on the coast, I feel small tremors several times a week. The first time I told anyone a friend was over. My husband and my friend looked at me as though I had lost my mind. Within about 15 minutes, their eyes went wide when they felt it themselves! Ha!
    I wonder if the Southport beach home, which you featured a few weeks ago and was used for filming the Revenge pilot here, feels them?!
    Some days, it can be 5 slight tremors in an hour then nothing for several days. Never makes the news, no one else talks about them … but my husband and my friend felt it that Sunday afternoon last fall!!

  35. I live in Ninety Six, SC, about 65 miles from Edgefield, SC. My whole house shook and I thought a helicopter was landing. It lasted abut 30 seconds. I went to look out my front and back door to see if I could see anything. When I got back to my computer, facebook had exploded with news about the earthquake. It was scarey especially when I was reading all the comments about it. My first thought was to pray and I did. Finding out that SC had 10 earthquakes last year was news to me. This was a 4.1 earthquake that shook my world on Valentine’s Day in 2014. God Bless America!

  36. Elaine in Laguna says

    Hi Susan , I’m glad you and your followers who felt the quake are okay. I’m sorry you were scared. Quakes can be unnerving. As a So Cal native, I’m mostly used to them. The last big-ish one that we felt in Orange County was about 3 yrs. ago on Easter Sunday. It started way down in the San Diego area. It kind of went on for a bit and I got nervous. I usually don’t unless they’re over 4.0 and nearby. The tips from the others here are what we follow and please never run outside. You can be hurt by something falling. I have extra flats of water in my garage, shoes and a flashlight next to my bed and sneakers in my car, too. Works for any emergency actually! Take care to all.

  37. The story goes that small earthquakes and tremors are better since they release the tension gradually rather than at one time. Consider it a good thing?!

  38. We live about 15 miles east of Athens, GA, and while I didn’t feel anything, I just remembered that I heard a faint noise last night like something falling or someone moving around on the second floor. The dogs were not upset about it so I didn’t give it another thought, but now I wonder if it was the quake. I didn’t even know this happened until I read your blog just now — maybe the quake is the reason my horse and donkey were acting a little odd this morning!

  39. The mention of breakables reminded me of all of your beautiful china and crystal, Susan! Was there any damage?

  40. Wow, I never would have expected an earthquake in your area! Maybe it’s all tied into the horrible winter weather y’all have been having……I don’t know, just guessing. We use to live in Yuma, AZ which was only a few miles (as the crow flies) from part of the San Andreas fault, and we would feel tremors fairly often, but nothing very big. That is until one Spring morning a few years ago, we had one between 5 & 6 points that lasted about 45 seconds. Longest 45 seconds of my life. It was during the day time (on a weekend, so hubby was home). We each stood in the doorways at either end of our short hallway and literally watched our house sway back and forth. It was terrifying! I kept waiting to hear things falling, but the only things that did fall were some spoons from my spoon rack. We had short tremors for the next several days, which kept everyone on edge. I am happy to be much further east of that fault now, but hope there is not a new one forming in your area.

  41. Yes, we felt the earthquake in SC, it was quite the surprise. It felt like a train only no noise. The cats alerted me to it so was kind of scary when they kept looking behind the chair where I was sitting. I had to turn around look to make sure no one was standing behind me!

  42. In August 2011 we had a small earthquake here in NJ. The house creaked as though a hard windstorm was blowing, but when I looked out the window all was calm. In the 1980s I remember having one when I lived in an old house near a railroad tracks. That one rattled the windows and I looked out wondering why I didn’t see a train going by. On both occasions it just never occurred to me that it was an earthquake here in NJ!

  43. I’m with you, Susan ~ California can keep the earthquakes! We here in Oklahoma have floods, drought, dust-storms, tornadoes, snowstorms, ice storms, wind, rain & wildfires ~ no hurricanes so far, but we do get the after-effects of hurricanes, and in the last few years, we have had several small earthquakes, too. No major ones, thank God!! I like the earth under my feet or chair to feel solid – no shaking, rattling or rolling needed in T-town. My “grateful journal” for today lists “pleasant weather” as one of my top 5 grateful things for this Terrific Tuesday.

  44. Hi Susan,
    We had an earthquake here in Dartmouth, MA on Feb. 17th and one in New Bedford, MA on Jan 7th. Darthmouth is the next town from New Bedford on the coast just before Cape Cod. Thank God they were small and we don’t get them very often.

  45. I would have freaked out! If we had an earthquake now with all this snow I think everyone would freak out. So glad that it wasn’t a major quake and that things calmed down quickly.

  46. I feel your shakin and quakin!! We had a 4.8 (two years ago) while sitting on our outside deck celebrating my mother’s 88th birthday…the earth shook!! We were less than 10 miles from the epicenter…LOTS of damage locally. Be prepared for “aftershocks”…it STILL gives me shivers!! franki

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