Northern Nevada 'swarm' of earthquakes raises concerns
LAS VEGAS (KSNV (mynews3.com) – Nevada scientists are losing sleep.
Could a recent earthquakes near the Nevada-Oregon border be a warning of something bigger to come?
Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Lab, said since July, about 3,500 earthquakes have been recorded near Vya, Nev., home to no more than a handful of ranches.
Almost 200 of the quakes have been magnitude 3 or greater. One recorded Jan. 22, registered 4.7 of the Richter scale.
"This seems to be potentially the biggest swarm we've had," Kent said. "We can't think of a bigger one."
Kent said if you go back in history 150 years and move forward, "we know a lot of big magnitude 6 or 7 earthquakes in Nevada."
"We don't know if this is going to be the one that goes large, or the next one, but we're learning everything we can from this one," Kent said.
In Cedarville, Calif., not far from Vya, store clerk Greg Winchel said the recent "swarm" of earthquakes has the town talking.
"Country people are used to being prepared for just about anything," Winchel said.
"Yea, we're feeling them, and observing things swinging in the air," he said. "You look at the mountains and that's how they were formed by the ground moving around, so yea, it is a concern, but it doesn't keep you from sleeping at night."
The earthquake activity is being monitored on the University of Nevada, Reno, campus. Chances are that even if a big quake in the 7 range is detected in the Vya desert, there would be no damage in Reno, and it probably would not even be felt in Las Vegas.
But the information gathered at the university is still important, because the next swarm could be closer to populated areas.
"This type of activity could occur anywhere throughout Nevada," said Tom Rennie, a seismological record analyst at the state earthquake lab.
Doctorate degree student Christine Ruhl pointed out a map showing all recent earthquake events.
She noted that Nevada is the third most seismically active state in the country. Earthquake preparedness is key.
"Get some information to the public about getting things off their walls, getting their homes safe, and the area they're sleeping in so they wouldn't have things fall on them," Rennie offered as basic precautions people would need to take if an earthquake is imminent.
It's impossible to know when this most recent swarm will stop.
Until then, Winchel said he's ready to drop, cover and hold on.
"It adds a little bit of excitement to the day when you do feel them," he said.