Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ensete lasiocarpa, formerly Musella lasiocarpa.....and the earthquake at the National Arboretum

We survived our second earthquake of the past year and a half (ever) Tuesday with no visible damage. It was a 5.8 but the epicenter was 80 odd miles away so we just felt gently nudged back and forth for....way less than half a minute. In the same way that we aren't "snow savvy" in the sense that Maine or Minnesota or Wisconsin are, we aren't "earthquake ready" like say California is. First reports suggest that some older buildings sustained mostly minor damage, though the Washington Monument is closed because of visible cracks. Nothing much seemed to have been affected at the Arboretum, though, along with all other government installations; we closed for the day. Horrible traffic, cell phones inoperable due to overload, and general disorder astronomically out of proportion to the small tremor we experienced no doubt make us look foolish to the Left Coast. Oh well.

It did interest me that, as like last summer's small quake, no potential mechanism or causal circumstance was suggested by the experts to explain why an earthquake would happen here. I do remember while studying geology in college, hearing that there was a low level thrust fault subtending much of the coastal plain. Hey, the Atlantic is spreading and oceanic crust is heavier than continental crust. Incipient subduction zone? I don't know and the bad thing about scientists, and the good thing, is that they don't speculate a lot. I suspect that much research will begin now.

I love this banana that used to be Musella and don't really understand why it's now an Ensete. Carole promised to sent me the relevant paper. I'll let you know.

1 comment:

polishwarrior said...

Felt the quake here in Cleveland, but only since i was sitting perfectly still when it happened.