Yep, there is something really disturbing about an earthquake... I was in the 86 Loma Prieta quake. One of the few folks that got home that night, as I was on a motorbike, and could wend my way home thru the debris. It was quite the awful mess, but we were lucky lucky lucky... if it were not for the World Series being played in San Francisco at that moment, hundreds would have died on the Cypress Freeway/ Nimitz, not the 42 who were so unfortunate there. (63 deaths total)
Also some rarely known facts about that quake... Three things saved the City. (Besides the fact that hundreds did not die because they were either at the game, or at work, watching that game..., and not on that freeway, or on the Bay Bridge, a portion of which collapsed)
One) There was no onshore breeze. There is ALWAYS onshore breeze! Starts around 3 to 4 pm. None that day, so, the fires did not spread...
Two) Several antique Fireboats were retired, save one, left for display in the Bay. This Fireboat, the Phoenix (how appropriate!) was able to pump seawater to the fires in the Marina, to also help put them out.
I think it was former Mayor Feinstein who had saved the fireboat late in her term.
Three) The ONLY reason the Phoenix could REACH the fires in the Marina, was because there were folks who worked tirelessly in terrible conditions to make sure that the Phoenix was able to actually reach it's hoses to the fires in the Marina.
The whole Marina might likely have gone up in flames were it not for that one Fireboat, and the fact that there was no wind to fan the flames...
Very very scary...
Anyhow, there is just something about the earth falling away underneath one that is incredibly scary...
So, Basilisk, I have much empathy!