Earthquake jolts campus

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Earthquake jolts campus

by Tara Hansen & Isha Kawatra

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Thursday, January 7, at 10:09:35 a.m., an earthquake of magnitude 4.1 on the Richter scale occurred near Milpitas. With a depth of 9 km, the quake was shallow. However, it was still felt at Harker, approximately 17 miles away from the epicenter of the quake. The aftershock that happened 27 minutes later went largely unnoticed due to the astonishment of the first.

Students in second period were surprised at first, but by the time the initial shock wore off, the mini quakes were already over. It rattled some students and teachers, and many considered ducking under a table or evacuating the building: “I basically wanted to get to the door as soon as possible,” Dr. Ben Spencer-Cooke said.

Several classes evacuated the buildings: many classrooms from Shah Hall exited onto Davis Field, led by Carol Zink, Ray Fowler, and several other teachers. As the students milled around, the teachers attempted to find out what was going on and how to address it.

J Gaston said that he was “surprised [and] a little bit confused.” Students in Main Hall like Kelsey Chung (12) were left unable to find shelter or protection. “I was scared, because I was out [in the open] and there was no desk to hide or anything,” she said.

Most didn’t realize that the trembles were an earthquake in the first place; “It just seemed like people jumping on the roof, and then it started shaking, and we were like, ‘it’s real, it happened,'” Katharine Forsberg (11) said.

After an unexpected fire drill on the field nearly an hour and a half earlier, it had already been an eventful morning for the student body. “I thought, ‘Oh, god, we have to go out on the field again’…we would have sounded the alarm if it was a long quake,” Kevin Williamson, Upper School Dean of Students, said.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake lasted only a minute and a half, however, the jolt here did not last long therefore students could not begin to implement emergency safety procedures.