Vibrating desks, twitter and bedrock


I felt vindicated this morning, when I saw this headline on MSNBC: "Eh? Tremblor felt as far as Canada."

You see, news reports yesterday of the 5.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the East Coast had it rumbling from Virginia to as far north as New Hampshire.

I knew differently, because I was sitting at my desk yesterday afternoon at the world headquarters of HME News in Yarmouth, Maine, when, I kid you not, I felt it vibrating. I looked out my window to see if there was any construction going on outside (Our building is next door to a couple of boat yards). Or if there was a fight between the workers of the restaurant next door (It's happened—more than once). Or if the building was collapsing (Our building, a former fish cannery, is ancient).

But nothing was awry.

Then I felt my desk vibrating again and I asked my cube mates if they were feeling the same thing. One of them mocked me. Another said the plant on her windowsill seemed to be shaking (Thanks for backing me up Theresa!).

Then it was gone.

Thinking nothing of it and moving on with my day, I went to post a tweet on twitter. I saw a flurry of tweets on an earthquake hitting the East Coast and I knew that was what I had felt. (What kind of world am I living in, by the way? I confirmed that what I had just experienced was an earthquake on twitter of all places!)

"It was an earthquake," I yelled to my cube mates. There was more mocking, for the most part, until everyone else got online and read the news reports themselves.

In the midst of all this, I was working on a story on competitive bidding, calling all of the usual suspects, many of whom are based in Washington, D.C., or nearby parts of Virginia. Cara Bachenheimer emailed me to say she couldn't return my message because the phone lines were down. Seth Johnson, who was a little further from the epicenter of the earthquake, was able to call me back. He said a mirror on a dresser at home was broken.

Last night, I heard on the local news that the reason the earthquake was felt in Maine was because the bedrock here is really conducive to transmitting shock waves.

I guess you experience something new—and learn something new—every day.

Liz Beaulieu