Earthquake Update – everyone is okay, buildings are a mess.

Twin Oaks was nearly the epicenter of a 5.9 quake.  I have lived in San Francisco and Santa Cruz for almost 10 years and this was the wildest ride i have had.  The community rallies in these types of circumstances.  We form effective little committees, the first of which went around and made sure all the members were accounted for and that everyone was okay.  There are no serious injuries. Kristen got hit by a door and will likely have a black eye. Louisa‘s foot got hit and she was icing it when i left.

this distance is just a few miles


Other groups went and assessed building damage, we cut off power to avoid fire hazards and to stop pumps from flooding (downstairs Onedia and Nashoba have both sustained plumbing damage).  MT and ZK have sustained damage to their floors and MT has a number of things which came crashing down from the walls.

I was in Ta Chai when it hit and a 55 gallon fishtank came smashing down beside me and nearly hit me, i was soaked and the fish are casualties.  We had to climb out of the wing over broken glass and crashed equipment and falling bookshelves.  Some chimneys appear slightly tilted, it is not yet clear if there is much structural damage


Of course we are located about a dozen miles from the North Anna nuclear power plant.  The plant was manually shut down when external power failed.  There are emergency generators currently powering the plant which provide needed cooling for the radioactive materials at the facility.  The plant is claiming that there was no damage, but they cant actually have completed an inspection yet, so they are simply lying to us – as they did at Chernobyl and Fukushima.  The plant was designed for a 5.9 to 6.1 earthquake.  So we were lucky (tho of course we could just as easily say we were foolish fro building them in the first place).

Denny Ray’s place got flooded and we keep offering him help and he keeps declining.  Jim and Shana are okay, tho they took some damage to their plumbing.  We are checking on other friends in the area, which requires driving to them, because the phone service is largely out.

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

29 responses to “Earthquake Update – everyone is okay, buildings are a mess.”

  1. bnmng says :

    Seems like you handled things very well. Sorry about the fish.

  2. Jonathan PB says :

    Glad to hear everyone’s OK.

    Jonathan (“Laurie”, TO provisional member 1990)

  3. dbmamaz says :

    Thanks for the update (and to Cricket for posting it to fb)

  4. Amy Kopkin Atkins says :

    So glad to hear everyone is okay. When I heard Louisa was the epicenter, I got really worried. Sending good thoughts for what will hopefully be an easy rebuilding process.

  5. James Handley says :

    Paxus (all),

    What a strange “aftershock” of the Communities Conference which Erika and I appreciated very much. Thanks.

    When we heard that Louisa was the epicenter, we wondered about all of you “Oakers”and the nukes there.

    Here in my recently fired-damaged DC row house where I work (for the Carbon Tax Center), things shook for about half a minute and a few objects fell from shelves. I rushed outside where many of my neighbors also were on their porches. I haven’t noticed any damage around here but I can’t imagine that taller buildings (like Erika’s new apartment building) were built to withstand that kind of shaking.

    I read that the forecast is for a hurricane later this week… Mother nature reminding us who’s boss? Hang on!

    – jas / James Handley

    • Erika says :

      What Jas said. Thanks Paxus for this interesting news.

      My highrise building in Alexandria seems safe, but they kept folks out of it for a few hours. We didn’t feel any of the small (~4.4) 8pm and 9pm aftershocks here. Although, I was a bit distracted at that time.


      • David Levy says :

        I’m on the 8th floor of an apt. bldg. in downtown DC. The building was swaying and shaking like it was the apocalypse, and even though it stopped after 20 seconds, I personally was still shaking a half hour later. The thing that amazes me the most is that more buildings in DC did not suffer damage considering the severity and duration of it.

  6. Jaz says :

    I TOLD you a flying couch in the Tupelo stairwell was a bad idea!!!!!

  7. Johnny Sacko says :

    Greetings Pax and everyone!

    Last October Quail Springs permaculture demonstration ranch in Maricopa CA got hit with a ” Global Weirding ” flood – a 100 year event, previously.

    They figured they sustained $10k damage – the community responded very quickly with big dough. Then a couple months later, after attention had turned away, they realized the true damage was waay higher.

    My unsolicited advice from the comfort of my armchair in Santa Barbara:

    Go for media! Ask for $100k! Celebrate the Crisis! Don’t waste the opportunity to promote community!

    Blessings and much Love always

    Johnny Sacko

    • wordsofglass says :

      I twinkle this idea, but I’m not a member of the community. I just RT’ed your blog post. Use the press to preach the gospel! This is a 100 year opportunity!

  8. chris and beth cobb says :

    Happy to hear that everyone is ok. Please ask Marione Cobb to check her email.

    Chris Cobb

    • Angietupelo says :

      Internet is still quite sparse- 2 computers for 100 of us. Plus a few smartphones. I will pass along the message tomorrow

  9. Sigre says :

    My thoughts have been on all of you! Thanks for the update. i can only imagine what the Ta Chai living room will smell like. Fish water and old books…oh my!

  10. Bob Gilbert aka Koala Tupelo says :


    koala here’

    i was stunned when i heard Louisa mentioned as the epicenter

    and then saw a map with it just east ? of yanceyville.

    wow tried calling but phones were jammed or out.

    so glad everyone is safe.

    valerie updated me and if ya”’ need ANYTHING …


    i think publicity of how the worlds oldest living sustainable community survives in the shadow of the north anna nuke

    is cool go for rebuilding. i’m in for $500 to get it started.thats what my income was listed as when i lived there..hyuk hyuk !


    ( ex member for life ’76 to ’82 )

  11. Laddie says :

    Thanks for the update! Hope you don’t find more damage as you continue to investigate! So glad no serious injuries – but for the fish.

  12. Giselle62 says :

    Blaming the messy buildings on an earthquake, now, are we? No, I’m glad everyone’s okay—and i believe earthquakes can do more damage on East Coast than West.

  13. Mark says :

    Thanks for the post, Paxus. We met when I was at the Communities Conference with Maria (a former resident) a couple years ago. Very sorry to hear about the damage, the fish, and the situation with the North Anna plant, but I’m glad everyone is otherwise ok.

    July last year, I had a small quake hit right by me up here in Maryland. But this one soon had me running to stand in a doorway.

  14. Sarah Taub says :

    Hey Paxus, thanks so much for the update! Glad no one was seriously hurt. Sending love from New Culture Summer Camp in Oregon!

  15. Ramona Stucki says :

    Hey Paxus and friends from Twin Oaks,
    hope there is no bigger damage than the ones you discovered by now. I’m happy to hear you’re safe, none of you seriously hurt.
    I send you a warm hug and a lot of good energy for the coming time of reconstruction


  16. Jan Haverkamp says :

    Ahoj Pax,

    Keeping fingers crossed for when Erika hits North Anna. It’s said to be running on diesels 1,2,3 and 5 now with 4 failing. That’s one left in reserve. Don’t know how you get there to start that manually in a hurricane…

    Happy clean-up party!


  17. Yam Erez says :

    Yea for this blog. Was blown away when I heard “Louisa, VA”. Thank goodness everyone’s OK. Good luck with the rebuild.

    – formerly Miriam Erez, visitor in fall 1995 with my partner Bill and my daughters Yahav and Idan

  18. July Lewis says :

    SO glad everyone is OK. My thoughts are with you!

  19. dwhelan2 says :

    Glad everyone is okay, thanks for the update Paxus.

  20. Nathan Brown says :

    I’m glad no one was hurt. I’m so sorry to hear about all the damage!

  21. divalicias (@divalicias) says :

    So glad to hear everyone at Twin Oaks is okay. Sorry about the fish and the other damage. You are in my thoughts and wishes as you make repairs and fix what’s broken. I’m from California as well — and experienced several earthquakes of greater magnitude — but that one yesterday was quite a rocker. Take care!

  22. John Fox says :

    Thanks for the update. Glad that no one was seriously injured. Good example of working together and taking care of business.
    I wish you all the best.

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