Well, I had a choice of where to put this post as I write Terra Sigillata hosted on a server at the American Chemical Society in Washington, DC, and here at PLoS in San Francisco.
Yes, folks, this post is safer being hosted in San Francisco.
I was just sitting in my 2nd floor office at about 1:52 pm EDT when I felt what seemed like an industrial compressor being roughly wheeled down the hall. However, the building shaking continued for what I figure was about 15-18 seconds.
As we now know, the earthquake was a magnitude 5.8 or 5.9 and centered around Mineral, Virginia, about halfway between Charlottesville and Richmond. I hope things are okay with my friends at University of Virginia and Virginia Commonwealth University.
You folks on the US West Coast and Japan are used to this and I see many of you laughing at us (as is my office neighbor from southern California).
But what I found interesting is how fast news of the quake traveled on Twitter and how I was able to watch news of the quake on my stream radiate from the epicenter. When I look at the 2,000+ people I follow, I am heavy on people from Washington, DC, the Research Triangle area, and New York City.
So, it made sense that the first two tweets on my stream came from Andy Carvin and Scott Hensley at NPR in Washington.
Interesting, still nothing from the 100+ people I follow in New York City:
Phoebe Connelly, Washington, DC.
Brooke Cain at the News and Observer in Raleigh, NC.
Rene and newprof in Baltimore, MD.
Brianne Villano, Durham, NC.
Andy Carvin then comes back to say it’s been shaking for more than a minute in DC.
Then, my first from New York: Baratunde Thurston with,
my building in soho is seriously sharking #earthquake
Then, Julie Meloni at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, my closest follower to the epicenter:
that was the longest quake i’ve ever felt, and I lived in california for 15 years.
And get this: Scott Gavura in Toronto.
There’s obviously an easier way to do this and it would be fun to map the public Twitter feed. The timing of the tweets above was difficult to nail down since I don’t have resolution to the second on Tweetdeck. However, the span of the tweets above was about two-and-a-half minutes.
I just found it interesting to have such a concentration of tweets in the DC and Research Triangle areas, about 100 and 180 miles on either side of the epicenter, well before seeing the tweets from the New York City area.
What did you find in your Twitter feed?