Being a silly East-Coaster, at first I didn't know what it was. I thought maybe a train went past or something as I heard rumbling and the floor started to shake. It was kind of like an amusement park ride (kind of like the Noah's Ark ride at Kennywood Park back in PA for those who know). But after a few seconds I started to think: Holy crap, this is an earthquake. The shaking and rumbling lasted for about 40 seconds. And then it just subsided.
I stared at the person sitting next to me and said, "Was that what I think it is?" And he said, "Yup, just a small one."
It turned out it wasn't that small. At 5.4, it was 100 times more intense than the 4.4 in LA last April. While this one had its epicenter in Chino Hills and there were relatively few damages and no casualties, the frequency of these recent quakes is alarming, and most experts say the "Big One" will likely strike Los Angeles within the next 30 years. That's scary. There is still a 5% chance that this is only the precursor of a big one within 24 hours. I guess we'll see.
Later I was standing next to my car in the parking lot and I felt a slight vibration under my feet. Again, my instinct told me it was a truck or a train or something, but then I realized -- yup, it's an aftershock.
I guess I'm too inexperienced to really be unnerved by this. In fact, I was all giddy. I always told my friends in LA that I'd never been in an earthquake and I was kind of disappointed. They thought I was nuts. But now I can say, "Hey, I felt this one, and it's really kind of cool." I guess I still don't understand how devastating an earthquake could be, even after watching the horror unfold in China. I think the concept is so surreal that most of us really can't fathom until we're in one.
Hope everyone in Los Angeles is safe and with your family and loved ones. It's a day to be thankful.