She Didn’t Feel the 7.1 Earthquake, but Seismologist Lucy Jones Is Helping the World Understand It

“We can’t set up earthquake experiments at our leisure. We have to take what the earth gives us,” she said. “Data collection was first on my list. Future seismologists were depending on us." (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

“We can’t set up earthquake experiments at our leisure. We have to take what the earth gives us,” she said. “Data collection was first on my list. Future seismologists were depending on us.” (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

On Friday night, Lucy Jones didn’t feel the earthquake.

She and her husband, Egill Hauksson — both seismologists, and both exhausted — were on an evening walk to their Pasadena pharmacy to pick up prescriptions that had gone uncollected when a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck Ridgecrest, Calif., the day before.

Jones, the hottest L.A. celebrity of the holiday weekend, needed a break from all the attention. She’d practiced her bass viola and done her best to scrub off her television makeup from the day’s NBC and ABC interviews. (Her husband joked that the smudged mascara left her looking like a football player.)

But during the stroll, her cellphone rang. It was news about a second, stronger earthquake: a magnitude 7.1 — but with a seismic intensity low enough that it could be felt in Pasadena only if one was standing still. The pair hustled the last six blocks home to pick up phones and computers, then jumped into the car. They were at the Caltech lab within 15 minutes of the tremors.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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