Imperial Valley is a sweet cocktail fragrance of decaying fish, dates, cabbage, cocaine, citrus, sweat and cigarettes emanating from land that rings our spectacular engineering failure, the Salton Sea.

William Vollmann, in his book “Imperial”, states


Yes, Imperial is.

A place of salt, sun, earthquake faults, heavy metals, agriculture, bombs, love, chipped buildings, elusive events, quiet voices comfortable in shadows, Imperial Valley is a conundrum of social and ecological existence. It is a landscape of grotesque beauty, making me wonder if Hieronymus Bosch primed his imagination by living this Imperial life.

Bordering Mexico, this Southeastern inland California valley is elusively captivating.

not far from home

waking up yesterday morning to a familiar earth-dance,
slow but constant, long sway, with constant trajectory.

a lovely 4.4 “welcome home” in west texas.

this sleep shaker originated only 6.4 miles down where in comparison the valparaiso rockers from the summer averaged a range from 10 – 30 miles below. in comparison texas carried this energy low and shallow to the punched forced thrusts of valparaiso’s rocks.

typically texas doesn’t earth-dance, located on the North American tectonic plate far from the active seams this state is one of the more dormant in terms of fault activity. the largest recorded earthquake since 1699 registered as a 5.8 on August 16, 1931 near Valentine, TX.

the earth was busy last night

another round of three earthquakes greeted Valparaiso last night. but it was only the 5.0 one at 4:22 am that woke me up, and instead slept through the 5.5 @1:32 am and the 4.7 @3:02 am. this completely surprises me, and after checking the response maps the earthquake was felt by some in the region. maybe the reason i missed waking to the earth shake was that i fell asleep only 30 minutes before the first and was deep in dream land, and/or the combined location of the epicenter, depth and geology through which the energy traveled to reach Valparaiso. the first two earthquakes i slept through almost occured on top of each other (relative to the size of the earth) located offshore about 65 miles South Southwest from Valparaiso about 11 miles into the earth. the earthquake i woke up for originated 59 miles North Northeast towards the Andes but at a much greater depth of 30.9 miles. good stuff…

earth dancing

earth dancing has always been a part of my life and i relish knowing as stable as the ground may appear US Geological Survey records otherwise. even in east michigan, at Cranbrook Academy, i registered a 5.2 earthquake on July 23 that originated 447 miles away near Cumberland, Ontario Canada.  but never before have i felt the shakes that Valparaiso serves – which must come from a combination of the flexible timber framed buildings, vertical topography and geological under-mixing. Valparaiso sits just on the edge of South American tectonic plate bordering Nazca plate and seamed by the Peru-Chile Trench offering a dynamic concoction. i am happy to report 3 earthquakes felt for the 23 days of living in Valparaiso all registered by my body completely differently… descriptions forth coming…


earthquake #1

earthquake #2

earthquake #3

growing up in Lompoc, California earthquakes are a part of life – safety at the door frames, cover head, earthquake drills in school. and the conversation continued right into practicing architecture, particularly in California where earthquake requirements factor into foundations, structures, soil and connections.