Philadelphia earthquake: Dazed, confused by sudden quake

Thousands sought safe — lower — ground after skyscrapers downtown shook yesterday.

Crowds gathered within minutes on Penn Square after pouring out of City Hall and surrounding Center City skyscrapers. 

Little did downtown’s masses know — waiting in confusion for about 45 minutes to an hour — that one of the East Coast’s strongest earthquakes ever had just struck.

“I thought we were about to be attacked. I was on the 46th floor and that was the first thing you think of,” said Tasha Odom, who works in the Comcast Center. “You don’t think of an earthquake. It was scary.”

City courts closed early after the 5.8-magnitude earthquake hit outside Richmond, Va., at 2:51 p.m. today. The earthquake, about 3.7 miles deep, left seismologists scrambling to determine whether aftershocks could be expected soon. Experts from the U.S. Geological Survey said it would be unusual for aftershocks not to strike.

Jeremy Krafchin, who works on the 25th floor of the Comcast Center, said he thought “someone was moving a large piece of furniture for about 30 seconds.” Krafchin said everyone on his floor evacuated the building, but “was pretty calm.”

“I’m just worried about the children at home for the summer. My grandkids are probably sitting around saying ‘what the heck?’” financial specialist Yvonne Harris, 54, said. “They don’t know what an earthquake is.”

San Fran native stands firm

As the 14th floor of the building shook and rolled, my first reaction was “Wow, I must be really dehydrated.” Not till bewildered co-workers began asking what happened did I realize we had just been hit by an earthquake.

Growing up in the San Francisco bay area, I spent 13 years of school training and practicing earthquake drills. “Drop, cover and hold on” was drilled into my memory but, of course, when the quake hit Philadelphia yester­day, I continued to work.

The Pacific rim, notorious for its earthquakes, has had 39 earthquakes in California and more than 200 in Alaska in the last week alone.

Safer in a high-rise?

Whether they were on the eighth floor or the 58th, many urbanites were terrified to be trapped inside high-rises during yesterday’s tremble.

But a modern high-rise may actually be safer than a smaller building, says Jerry Hajjar, chair of the engineering department at Northeastern University.

“High-rises are built to sway more on a regular basis due to wind,” said Hajjar. “Compared to an old two- or four-story masonry walk-up … those are much stiffer,” and more susceptible to damage from a quake, he said.

For example, a new 30-story building is designed to sway back and forth about 9 inches. It’s not uncommon for buildings taller than 50 stories to sway a few feet, he said. 

What to do if you’re in a high-rise

What to do if you’re in a high-rise and an earthquake hits?

“I would get under a desk so things don’t fall on you,” said Larry Brown, a Cornell University seismology professor. “Book cases, falling lamps, get away from those things.”

As far as fleeing the building itself, in a serious quake you likely won’t have time to get outside, said Brown, especially if you’re high up.

“You obviously don’t want to get in the elevator but it may not be a bad idea to go down the stairwell because stairwells are reinforced,” he said. “In an urban environment, you are actually safer inside than out because of falling glass.” 
 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.