No damage in Hawthorne after 75-quake swarm
December 28, 2016
No damage or injuries were reported in Hawthorne after a series of earthquakes early Wednesday morning.
A spokeswoman for the Mineral County Sheriff's Office said residents are still feeling the aftershocks from three 5-plus magnitude earthquakes that struck near Aurora Crater just after midnight.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, 75 earthquakes of varying sizes had been detected in the area, according to the University of Nevada, Reno, Seismology laboratory.
The shaking started at 12:18 a.m. with a 5.7 magnitude quake and was followed four minutes later by another 5.7.
An hour later, at 1:13 a.m., a 5.5 magnitude jolt struck. Following that, the largest temblor was a 4.1 magnitude at 4:18 a.m.
The earthquakes were centered 20 miles southwest of Hawthorne, near the Aurora-Bodie volcanic field, which is a geothermal area. The Aurora crater is a breached volcanic crater about 250,000 years old, according to the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.
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To better monitor the evolving sequence, members from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, working with the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, California Office of Emergency Services, and the United States Geological Survey, are investigating access to this remote region, including a snowbound communications site outside of Hawthorne that is critical for establishing radio links for portable stations that could be deployed to better monitor the sequence.
"Ongoing activity southwest of Hawthorne is a reminder to all Nevada and California citizens to be earthquake prepared, since this level of activity – or greater – can occur anywhere in our state," Graham Kent, director of the University's Nevada Seismological Laboratory, said. "In the event of an earthquake, everyone should remember to drop, cover and hold on. It's important to have a family plan, food and water supply for several days."
The area is located in the Walker Lane, a geologic trough where seismic activity is common.
The lane starts in Death Valley and continues northwest roughly along the California-Nevada border and ends somewhere between Pyramid Lake and Lassen Peak.
The Lane reportedly takes up 15-25 percent of the boundary motion between the Pacific and North American plates, and could replace the San Andreas Fault system in the distance future.