4.7 earthquake rattles Carson Valley
A 4.7 earthquake rumbled through Carson Valley early Tuesday, waking a few residents and serving as a not-so-gentle reminder that seismically speaking, the Eastern Sierra is a busy place.
“It wasn’t a big one,” said John Louie, associate professor of seismology at the University of Nevada, Reno. “This earthquake is just another in the sequence of continuing activity since the 6.0 Double Springs Flat earthquake in September 1994.”
Louie said Tuesday’s earthquake occurred about 12:20 a.m. in the Topaz Lake area.
That fact was confirmed by Topaz Ranch Estates resident Jackie Sargeant, who said she felt the first tremor about 12:15 a.m.
“I was sound asleep and it jolted me awake,” she said. “I would say within five minutes, there was another, smaller rumble.”
Louie people from Markleeville to Reno and the Mother Lode country reported feeling the earthquake. He said it was preceded by 2.0 foreshocks and followed by aftershocks of 3.0.
“There is very little potential for danger,” he said. “It is very unusual for earthquakes of this magnitude to generate any damage.”
Elaine Klavon of the Gardnerville Ranchos said she woke up at 12:32 a.m.
“The lamp over my bed was just swinging and swaying. The metal handles on my dresser just went nuts,” she said.
Klavon, support services coordinator for the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office in Markleeville, said she received a few calls Tuesday from concerned residents.
“I am getting some inquiries, but there’s not a whole lot of talk about it,” she said. “We don’t have anybody absolutely excited about it.”
Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Modispacher said the DCSO took a few calls, but there were no reports of damage.
“If there was damage, we didn’t hear about it,” he said.
Louie said the earthquake isn’t associated with a particular fault, but belongs to the “Double Springs Flat seismic zone.”
“This is a reminder that the Eastern Sierra is an active region and anywhere in the Eastern Sierra we can expect larger earthquakes in our lifetime,” he said. “We have no way of predicting when and we’re not in good shape as far as figuring out how often.
“All we can say is there probably will be a magnitude 6.0 somewhere in the Eastern Sierra every 15 years or so. It’s really very random, so we can have a forecast that it will happen in our lifetime. We can’t say where or when,” Louie said.