I was in the Loma Prieta quake. The one that collapsed the Bay Bridge. I was at school at the time, calling my ride to pick me up and all of a sudden everything started moving. I had no idea what was going on, it felt almost like vertigo, until I saw the concrete sidewalk coming at me. It looked just like a rolling wave you would see at the ocean, only it was made out of concrete.
We have quakes here on a regular basis. Most of the time I don’t notice them. There have been a few sharp ones that have woken me up from a sound sleep. But if it weren’t for the fact that the ceiling fan is shaking, I might just think it was a gunshot that woke me (which isn’t unusual, either).
There was one a month or so ago… around a 3 that was fairly strong. A rolling quake, epicentered about a mile from my house, it went on for about 10 seconds or so, long enough for me to get out of my desk chair and into the doorway. Usually they’re over so quickly I just have time to brace my computer before it’s over. It felt fairly similar to Loma Prieta, that rolling wave-like motion.
Usually anything under a 3.0 I don’t feel. Having been raised here, we tend not to get terribly excited by them most of the time. We did have a really strong one a few months back, in the middle of the night. Not a rolling-wave one, but a long jolting-shaking one. DH was sleeping on the couch and I was in the bedroom. It woke both of us up so violently that we both went running through the house looking for the other one, adrenaline pumping wildly, both of us had the shakes. We just held onto eachother until we calmed down a bit. By that point of course we were both wide awake so we turned on the computer to find out the magnitude and were shocked to see it was under 4. It was just so local and so violent.
Baja is very active right now. They didn’t have one quake. Just in the last week they’ve had… well, I stopped counting at 100, but it looks to be closer to 200.