A few weeks short of 20 years ago, Gardnerville residents experienced a magnitude 6 earthquake centered in Double Spring Flat.
To this day you can do a Google search for “Gardnerville Earthquake,” and a Nevada Geology article comes up on the front page.
Sunday’s earthquake in Napa is a reminder that danger lurks all around us from both the Earth below and the skies above.
The year 1994 was also significant because that was the year the big summer floods hit Johnson Lane.
Flooding on the alluvial plain is a little bit like an earthquake in that there’s little warning, but an analysis of the terrain can indicate the possibility.
Carson Valley is home to the Genoa Fault, located at the base of the Carson Range. The 50-foot rock wall across from Walley’s Hot Springs resulted from several earthquakes along the fault.
Geologists believe a magnitude 7.5 earthquake has occurred on the fault over the last few hundred years. The springs itself is an indication there is an active earth below.
Likewise in the north Valley there are great piles of dirt extending out of the mouths of large washes indicating that water had moved at least some of that material down hill at some point.
We survive and thrive at the mouths of these canyons and in the shadows of these mountains because human memory is blessedly short. People place a bet when they set down roots in a place that nothing bad will happen while they or their descendants are living there. When trouble comes, people pick up the pieces, make a decision to stay or go, and then move on with their lives. That’s called resilience.
We expect the same thing will happen in the north Valley with the recent flooding, in Napa with the earthquake and with whatever catastrophe occurs, wherever it may happen.