SANTA ROSA, Calif. - Mark West Creek in Santa Creek in Santa Rosa is flowing once again, not from rain, but from the ground beneath it. Earthquakes usually bring dread and damage. But last week's Santa Rosa quakes also brought a watery surprise.
The kindergartners as well as the first and second graders of Redwood Adventist Academy played and learned in Mark West Creek. This creek, is now a wonder of nature made so by last week's magnitude 4 plus earthquakes that rocked Santa Rosa and principal Lisa Paulson. "All of a sudden I was just shaking and I could hear, it's a portable unit and so you cold hear everything all crunching together and I felt like I was riding the wave," said principal Lisa Bissell Paulson.
A picture of the creek, just before the earthquakes shows way more stones than water. "The was a lot of algae covering the water and it was just very still and it was almost like is there water in this creek," said second grade teacher Teresa Grosboll.
Then came the quakes of Wednesday the fourteenth. "We came down on here on Thursday and like whoa. We asked the kids; what do you think happened?." said kindergarten teacher aide Arianna Fiorello. "You can see now, it's just flowing so much better and cleaner and clearer and the it's great, it's so much fun for the kids," said Grosboll.
Yes, it rained here over the weekend, but the water rise was days ahead of the rain. "There's no doubt at all. We had the kindergartners work on building trenches to keep the water flowing before the earthquake and it was a truckle. We came down the day after the earthquake and it was like a night and day difference," said kindergarten teacher Steven VandeVeer.
This flow is the delightful result of some very serious science: geotechnical science, seismic science that unleashed this water to the kids' delight. "It's interesting and it's mysterious and I think it's kind of neat," said Evelyn Roeloffs, USGS Geophysicist Emeritus. Roeloffs says this is very common but rarely noticed. "So, what we think happens is that the earthquake the creek, because it's shaking near surface materials, it's just making them a little looser and more permeable and the ground water is a little more easily able to flow out of the ground," said Roeloffs.
A science lesson and a super soak, all in one.