122 quakes rattle southern Carson City | RecordCourier.com

122 quakes rattle southern Carson City

by Mike Wolterbeek
University of Nevada, Reno
Nathan Edwards of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno places communications equipment for broadband seismometers to help monitor the swarm of earthquakes in 2011 that occurred near Hawthorne, Nevada, many registering as high as M4. Photo courtesy of the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Nevada Seismological Laboratory has located 122 earthquakes in a continuing sequence of activity located on Prison Hill on the southeastern edge of Carson City.

“It’s not unusual to see earthquake sequences similar to this in the Northern Nevada area,” said Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada. “Based on the historical record of earthquakes in the region, as earthquakes sequences progress, the probability of larger events that could be felt or that could potentially cause damaging ground shaking increases. We’re working with state emergency managers and are watching this closely so citizens can be informed and prepared.”

This most recent activity began on June 1 at 11:15 p.m. The largest events of the sequence have been one magnitude 2.9 and two magnitude 2.8 events. The most recent of these occurred at 8:06 a.m. Thursday. Each of the larger events has been followed by numerous small earthquakes, some too small to be pinpointed, but nonetheless observed on the local seismic network.

“The activity is occurring about 5.5 miles below ground,” said Ken Smith, network administrator and associate director at the Nevada Seismological Lab. “This sequence of events is noteworthy and of concern in that it may be associated with the northern extent of the Genoa Fault Zone, a large range-bounding fault system capable of earthquakes of magnitude 7 and larger. We cannot forecast or predict how this particular sequence of earthquakes will evolve, or if there will be larger events.”

Large damaging earthquakes are always possible anywhere in the Northern Nevada area. The State of Nevada Division of Emergency Management and the University’s Seismological Lab always encourage citizens to take steps to reduce the potential effects from ground shaking to their homes and businesses and to secure personal safety and the safety of family members and coworkers.

Earthquake activity in the Carson City area will continue to be closely monitored and additional information will be issued as necessary to ensure public safety.

Information on current activity and earthquake preparedness can be found on the Nevada Seismological Lab’s website at http://www.seismo.unr.edu and http://www.seismo.unr.edu/Preparedness.

All Nevadans are encouraged to participate, and register, for this year’s October Nevada Great Shake Out, at 10:17 a.m. Oct. 17, 2013, a simple earthquake drill designed for citizens and organization participation at: http://www.shakeout.org/nevada/.

The Nevada Seismological Laboratory, a statewide public service department at the University of Nevada, Reno, is a member of the USGS Advanced National Seismic System, http://www.anss.org, and operates a network of about 150 real-time seismograph stations throughout the region providing earthquake information to Nevada citizens, the USGS, and local and state officials.