Here's photos of our amazingly trivial damage from the Seattle
earthquake of 10:55am PST 28-Feb-2001. Heck of a week -- I'd just had my
41st birthday the day before, and my son
Ellis had his 1st birthday 3
(New additions 29-Apr-2001 -- we did have some damage that was
somewhat more subtle -- new additions to page below.)
(Click small image for larger image.)
THE most amazing thing to me, is these shelves in the basement. Note
the shelving units towards the right, bolted from floor to ceiling.
On the floor, leaning against the concrete wall of the house
foundation is a stack of a extra shelves (pink). These had tipped
over, causing no damage when they fell against the desk. (Photo was
taken after I'd picked them up, before I'd thought about what this
meant). For this to have happened, the ground underneath them must
have simply jumped southwards, about 6"!
(Note: A friend of mine with an obviously better physics background
than I upon reading this page suggests my logic is flawed -- a very
small distance of travel with resonable acceleration would have the
This water glass on the dining room table really got to me. Before
the quake the liquid level was at about 1+1/4". Notice how afterwards
the level is down to about 1+1/2" (green), and there was water
splashed on the table (it'd dried before I took this photo, sorry.)
This means the table shook sharply enough to splash water more than
1+1/4" up and out of the glass... This is a solid dining room table
-- I don't think I could cause this splash with my hand -- I'd have to
kick the table top to cause this much motion. Yet the wine bottle
rack in the next photo, just a few feet away, did not topple!
Wine rack with one bottle on top tipped over (green)... Also note the
expensive bottle of Porto on top, still standing (pink)! When I felt
the quake at work in a downtown office building (6th floor), I
immediately flashed on this rack assuming it for sure would have come
crashing down! Many of the bottles were sticking further out of the
rack, but not with an obvious pattern.
Worse yet, just the previous weekend I'd noticed how empty the rack
was, and said out loud to my wife "Let's not restock that rack just
yet -- I'll get around to bolting it to the wall for earthquake
proofing one of these weekends." (No, I haven't had the chance yet,
but I sure hope to soon!)
(07-Jun-2001 - rack is now bolted to wall, have yet to add the bungy cord to hold the bottles in...)
Broken teacup in antique china set (green). Tipped over glass Turkish
tea set and heavy copper Turkish teapot (yellow). Silver goblets that
fell out of cabinet, (presumedly) taking out the teacup on the way
down (pink). The goblets landed in Beth's sewing box thus did not
even get scratched!
Audio CDs on the floor in front of stereo. Several of the jewel cases
New gouges in the fir flooring where above CDs hit (green).
Vintners.Net software CDs and misc. on the floor. More broken CD
Can you believe this is it? We got off so lightly it's unbelievable!
29-Apr-2001 Ok, so since then we've found more real damage...
Cracks in plaster radiating up from windowsill. No big deal.
Cracks in plaster above same windowsill. Still no big deal.
Cracks in plaster where roof meets wall. This one is a little worse
than it appears -- the chimney is behind this wall. The crack is
where the house moved in relation to the chimney (or vice versa).
(You'll probably need to look at the large view to see it.)
More minor plaster craks.
Now we get to the scary stuff. We had 4 different inspectors (City of
Seattle, FEMA, SBA, Allstate) through the house over the following 5
weeks, and none of them climbed out onto the roof to inspect the
chimney, so finally I did. It's intact, but shows some noteworthy
cracking. Banging it with the heel of my hand it feels sort "springy"
-- not a good sign at all. Note the chunk of mortar fallen out and
laying below it. As several weeks had past, several rains had washed
away any smaller chunks and powder.
Side view, missing chunk, more cracks.
And the front rockery wall, alongside the stairway.
More cracks in rockery.
More cracks in rockery.
These rocks were already rather irregular, and the mortar had gone
long ago. However, they're somewhat more skewed now. I'm now worried
that the whole pile will basically just squirt out in the middle.
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