If the ground moves and chasms open beneath your feet, if walls sway and concrete foundations crack and crumble, if your prized collections jump off the shelving, you may be in the middle of a mild to severe earthquake.
The New Madrid earthquake of 1812 registered 7.2 on the Richter scale and claims to be the the greatest recorded quake in US. The fault, named for a small Missouri boothill town near the Mississippi River, produced 1,874 tremors between 1811 and 1812, The greatest tremor was Feb. 7, 1812 and was felt over 1 million sq. miles from Canada to Boston to New Orleans. Witnesses said the earth and river convulsed and rolled creating new lakes, rivers, valleys and hills. Others claimed the Mississippi River reversed its course for a short time.
Since I've lived in northern Arkansas we have experienced the effects of small tremors. Interestingly, some 'quakes announce themselves with an audible sound similar to a clap of thunder.
The recent cataclysmic Haitian earthquake stirred my memory of a supposed phenomenon: cats, dogs and other animals may predict earthquakes. Several studies have attempted to prove this theory but results are mixed. If a dog is barking at nothing, this does not prove the imminent danger of an earthquake. National Geographic News has an article on this subject,too.
The dogs in my life have never predicted an earthquake but they become increasing agitated and squirrely when the ground or other surfaces beneath them begin to move. My Moroccan German Shepherd tried to recline but kept rising and examining the shaking floor in a somewhat circular movement. The Moroccan 'quake was a mild one.
The tremors in Arkansas were mild; the Shepherds reacted in similar fashion. None barked in the manner described by the animal advocates who claim dogs can predict earthquakes.
Has Luckie endured an earthquake? I don't know. At least two years of her life was spent being abused by a man, sometimes as stray. We rescued her at the Humane Society where she was deposited by a female friend of the abuser. Her words were, 'I am bringing this dog and litter to you, before he beats the living s--t out of her.'
We quickly found out she loves to ride in cars and trucks. She curls up and sleeps quietly with occasional scanning the fleeting landscape for chipmunks. If she is in the front rider's seat she often sits like a person looking out the front window-best best-love-to go-for-a-ride dog we ever had!
But vehicles are one matter; other movement beneath her itsy-bitsy feet freaks her out.
She picked a dilapidated lift chair recliner as her favorite spot when she first entered our home. She quickly learned it was only hers, and all others were off-limits. She does have rare occasional lapses of memory.
She is also allowed to sleep in our adjustable beds.
The chairs and the beds have common features: they move and/or vibrate on demand. One lift recliner and the adjustable beds vibrate. When you activate either movement or vibration she is immediately airborne, retreating to another room or out the doggy door.
The adjustable beds shake the flooring and produce a rather loud noise. The lift recliner is mild vibration and noise.
Why does she flee the moving, and/or vibrating chairs and beds, but loves a ride in a vehicle?
Recently, I've activated the vibration system of my lift recliner in the evening, about her bedtime. She expressed anxiety by pacing, ears laid back tightly, between three rooms and out the doggy door until the timer shut off the vibrator.
When she passed through my room she leaned on the farthest wall from me. Her angst was stronger than ever before.
Cats and dogs can predict earthquakes--fact or fiction?
Is an earthquake imminent?
Is Luckie an earthquake freak?
Or might her spooky behavior be related to her idiopathic epilepsy aura?
1. New Madrid sign (Internet)
2. Luckie and her Lift chair Recliner (an early photo I took of her)
3. Luckie, husband napping in unison (I caught this pose one Sun. afternoon)