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Heart of Nashua: For the next quake, drop, cover and hold on!

By JOAN T. STYLIANOS
March 07. 2018 9:23PM




Well, I hope we’re done for the year. And even though I didn’t sense anything in my neck of the woods, other folks not far from us did.

A tiny one shook up people on Feb. 15th. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a mini earthquake with a magnitude of 2.7 rattled the town of East Kingston, the epicenter. Bay state towns like Tyngsboro, Salisbury and Newburyport also heard it and felt it.

My insurance company sent me their February newsletter, which included an item on earthquake insurance. Oh, really, I laughed out loud, but then, I read a little further.

Earthquake insurance in New Hampshire is an option most of us ignore, but if a quake were to damage your home or personal property, the typical insurance plan wouldn’t cover it.

I’ll take my chances. I’m still not going to buy earthquake insurance, but with my luck, my neighborhood is probably built on some yet undiscovered fault line.

I recall hazy information about earthquakes when I took Introduction to Earth Science at UNH to get out of taking a much tougher class in physics or chemistry. I learned how the movement of the earth’s large tectonic plates results in earthquakes. Trust me, I was no Einstein in that class.

Nashua is often envied for its ideal geographical location in the Granite State because we’re within an hour’s drive to the beaches, mountains and bustling Boston. But we and the rest of southern New Hampshire and the state of Maine also happen to sit in the most seismic territories of New England.

Compared to the state of California, our quakes typically register like hiccups on the grand scale of a geological map. But the possibility of a stronger one striking here is not that unusual to imagine.

Boston’s WBZ-TV meteorologist Pamela Gardner was tracking the quake that occurred on Feb. 15th and mentioned on the newscast that New Hampshire and Maine average six earthquakes per year.

It’s been an active period in 2018 thus far, with four earthquakes recorded here in our seismic neighborhood since Jan. 1st. These little quakes rarely deliver much damage, Gardner said, but the wake-up call is enough to freak people out.

Are we due for two more larger quakes then?

Who knows.

Maybe some of you remember the one that hit near Hollis Center, Maine, in 2012. The quake measured 4.0, and the energy from that one radiated out to as far away as Boston. I recall it; it was very loud and felt like a freight train barreling underneath the ground heading our way. Dishes were shaking in the china cabinet and the dining room chandelier crystals clinked about. The frightening episode that evening was over within seconds. Thankfully.

In this case, maybe the Scout motto of being prepared is of note, so if another, larger earthquake were to rumble through Nashua and the area, here is some advice if you are in a building or outdoors:

“Drop, cover and hold on!”

That’s what the Earthquake Country Alliance organization is recommending to reduce your chances of injury, and it’s sound advice.

Getting low to the ground on your hands and knees enables you to crawl to shelter and avoid being knocked down.

The experts say to cover your head and neck with one arm and hand. And try to get under a table or near a wall, away from windows.

Hold on to the shelter with one hand, and if you are not near shelter, they advise holding on to your head and neck with both arms and hands.

Ms. Stylianos is a Nashua native. Her column is published weekly. She can be reached at jtania512@gmail.com.


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