Tuesday, July 26, 2005
A 5.6 magnitude earthquake rumbled through southwest Montana late Monday, according to the National Earthquake Information Center Web site.
The NEIC said the moderate quake struck at 10:08 p.m. (12:08 a.m. Tuesday ET) and was centered 13 miles north-northeast of Dillon, Montana, and 220 miles northeast of Boise, Idaho.
The TigerHawk sister, of course, lives in Dillon, home of the University of Montana - Western. Her house did not escape unscathed. Our Dillon correspondant finally emerged from the rubble this afternoon to file this report:
I was pretty much scared witless but as bad as it seemed, no one seems to have any serious damage around here. Californians in the area I've talked to pretty much shrugged it off OK. The worst part was probably actually the Chinese water torture of several fairly significant aftershocks all last night. The last one was around 5 am, so hopefully we're in the clear. But I didn't really sleep much.
So far our chimney is the worst we've seen - the problem was that the top was redone a few years ago (before us) and the new brick just didn't have the give of the old brick, so they didn't play nicely together.
Trying to find a mason asap 'cause we're not too happy having it sit like that for very long.
And, tragically, the blue and white lava lamp met its demise on our bedroom floor. That was kind of a pain to clean up. [One is almost forced to wonder how gooey the interior of a lava lamp is. - ed.] The other one fortunately came through OK.
And no, our insurance doesn't cover earthquakes here.
We'll have to replace that lava lamp, because one is not enough.
According to our web-based research the basic lava lamp consists of benzyl alcohol, a suitable organic dye, and a 4.8 % saline solution.
Saline solution is of course a known quantity since the last time we checked the world's oceans still consist of this (salt water), albeit slightly less saline than in the past thanks to global warming.
Benzyl alcohol is actually found in minute quantities in tea, and is sometimes used as a local anesthetic (swab) and in cosmetics. It is further allowed in Europe as a food additive in minute quantities to carry dye substances since it is easily metabolised to benzoic acid (a common food preservative).
Other possible goo constituents include cinnamyl alcohol, diethyl phthalate, ethyl salicylate and nitrobenzene. None of these are particulary nasty, although it seems additional long term testing may need to be done for certain aspects of nitrobenzene.
Of course the goo also contains organic dye stuffs but as long as you feel safe around an indelible magic marker, you should be safe around any dyes found here.
So while you probably wouldn't want to eat the contents of the average lava lamp, clean up should be manageable without a biohazard suit. However, getting the spot out of the rug may be another matter altogether (carbontet is definitely not recommended).
PS. And to answer the specific editorial question, none of this stuff should be particularly gooey since the lamp operates on minute yet appreciately differences in specific gravity (kind of like floating in the Dead Sea).