Guest Post: Why humans suck at earthquake preparedness

Driving through my hometown in Kentucky, I admire the old-growth oaks, the spires and stained glass of Victorian era homes, and the tall brick chimneys. Then I think about how they would crumble in an earthquake. Ever since moving to the west coast, I size up the earthquake safety of every place I go: I […]

Bridge to somewhere

I love the back-to-school photos I’ve seen in the last few weeks. Whether kids have combed hair or messy bed head, new backpacks or hastily-thrown-together lunches, first-day ties or old t-shirts, their back-to-school smiles fill up more than just my Facebook feed. I’ve caught the hopeful feeling that I usually miss, being out of school—that […]

The World’s Biggest Mountain Town Gets Its Due

The other day I was casually perusing the internet and I happened on this article by the National Journal. In it, they ask 1,000 Americans for three words describing Mexico. Seventy two percent described their neighbor to the south with “drugs,” “danger,” “cartel,” “crime” or “violence.” For someone living in Mexico City, this is sad […]

Christchurch, Hardtack and the Myth of Earthquake Preparedness

I sleep with old sneakers and work gloves under my bed. My house and car are stocked with hand-crank radios, potable water and archaic, shelf-stable foodstuffs like hardtack and jerky. In my closet there is a crowbar and a very large axe, which I will use, should an earthquake tumble the walls, to excavate through […]

Buried Violence: the Ouachita Sleepers

I swear, you could get a good start at being a practicing geologist, just from looking at maps.  These lovely looping patterns are a satellite’s view of some mountains in southeastern Oklahoma.  They are the Ouachita, pronounced Wachita and mispronounced Wichita. I’m fond of the Ouachita – they’re sleepers. And given what went on underneath […]

Heather’s earthquakes vs. Ann’s: choose Heather’s

At 5:04 on the morning of July 16, 2010, I woke up because the bed was vibrating, as was the floor.  A small rumbling noise moved through the room and on out, and I thought, “earthquake,” and went back to sleep.  It turned out to have been a magnitude 3.6 – pretty big for these […]