A bit over half an hour ago, we felt an earth tremor here. Nothing serious, I read one suggestion that it was a 4.2 magnitude but I have no idea if that’s correct or where that number came from. I know I wouldn't want to feel anything any stronger, and yes, Californians are welcome to call me a wimp.
After ascertaining that it was not a gust of wind or some possums going for a run across the roof, we checked out who else has felt it. First we called a friend up the road, and then another friend across town. Wondering how much further away it was felt, and if it was worse in other places, led me to Twitter.
The microblogging site was derided earlier this week when US congressmen were revealed to have twittered through Obama’s address and while it is this year’s most popular time-waster among geeks and fashion victims, it's times like this that the idea really comes into its own.
A quick search for "earth tremor" brought up hundreds of hits revealing that it was felt all over Melbourne. (As well as a hundred "did the earth move for you?" jokes) It also brought up the unsubstantiated claim that it measured 4.2 and was centred around Korumburra. A search for Korumburra done after I began this piece, brought up a link to a site that does know what it’s talking about.
(Which brings up the side issue of why the US Geological survey service has this information out before the Australian equivalent.)
I mentioned in my opening post that my personal Twitter account is just for family and close friends and I keep it just for occasions such as these. I've since relaxed my stance on Twitter and set up a separate account for the ’blog. While it can sometimes match Facebook for useless bullshit, I think Twitter does have a useful place on the ’net and it's worth opening an account if only for occurrances such as these.
And don’t worry, everyone is fine, just a little rattled. Literally.