We had an earthquake this morning at 10:40am. It's epicenter was about five miles southeast of where I live. At first I thought it was the wind rattling the windows since it's blowing pretty good today. When it kept rattling and I started feeling it sitting at the kitchen table I knew it wasn't the wind! It seemed to last for about 5seconds. While that doesn't seem like a long time, try counting to five (using the Mississippi counting style) and consider that during that period of time your entire house is shaking and rattling. That is a virtual eternity.
Fortunately 4.4 is a mild quake. The 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake was a 6.9 on the Richter Scale and lasted for fifteen seconds. Each incremental increase in the size of the quake is ten times stronger. For example a 4.0 quake is ten times stronger than a 3.0 quake. The jump from today's 4.4 quake to the 6.9 Loma Prieta quake is an increase in magnitude of about twenty five times in strength. Gotta love living in California!