Swarms of Earthquakes in Western Nevada

26 April 2008 Update….had a nice earthquake around 11:40 pm Friday night.  Was downstairs at the time as I was finishing sewing a quilt.  Good rumbler…I think they said it was around a 4.6 – heard the ground moan and pop. 

I grew up in Canyon Country, California…so these wee earthquakes are nothing to write home about, but since we’ve had so MANY of them and friends are emailing and calling, here is the poop:

University of Nevada’s Mackay School of Mines (yes, I still call it that) SEISMO LAB PRESS RELEASE on yesterday's 24+ earthquakes.

And for a really cool look at all of them in the past few days…USGS’s EARTHQUAKE LIST ~ I love the USGS's site.

I was dropping some paperwork off at the lower end of campus before the 4.2 earthquake hit…walking down the hallway when the door next to me started rattling. I looked at it and thought “what the hell is wrong with them?”…then passed another door and looked in and saw the water cooler swishing…AHHH! An earthquake. Just kept walking. Got downstairs and there was a group of women standing in the hallway all wide-eyed. I then commented that the hallway, under all of those lights is NOT the place to run out to when there is an earthquake.

As stated, I grew up in Southern California (first 14 years of my life)…went through the 1971 San Fernando Earthquake which had a magnitude of 6.5 or 6.6. And I remember screaming (I was almost 5 years old) on the top of my lungs UNDER the maple dinning table (mom still has that table). The aftershocks were big and lots of them.

The point is ~ Nevada is the 3rd most active state for earthquake activity, behind Alaska and California. As a kid we had Earthquake Drills in school. I started high school here in Nevada and thinking back, we didn’t have earthquake drills at all. Just fire drills. Do kids here know what to do if there is one? Obviously the workers in Ross Hall yesterday had no clue…let’s run out into the hallway! Where there are things to fall on top of our heads! What a great idea!

UNR’s Police Department sent out an email to employees yesterday afternoon and I thought it had pretty good sound information ~

According to the Nevada Earthquake Safety Council:

Nevada is the 3rd most seismically active state in the U.S., after Alaska and California.
Western Nevada is in a seismic zone similar to Los Angeles.
We are due for a 6.0 or greater earthquake.

What to Do When the Shaking Begins


Take cover under a piece of furniture or against an inside wall. Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit. Stay away from windows. In a high-rise building, expect the fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake.

If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow.

If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, and power lines. Drop to the ground.

If you are in a car, slow down and drive to a clear place (as described above). Stay in the car until the shaking stops.

Other recommendations which are contrary to the DROP, COVER and HOLD ON advice, have been made by individuals with limited expertise and questionable credibility.

Research has shown that most injuries in U.S. earthquakes occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside the building or try to leave. Quickly seeking a place of safety, such as under a sturdy table or desk, and moving as short a distance as possible to that place of safety, is recommended based on research.

In the 2003 San Simeon, California, earthquake, two people were crushed by falling debris when they ran from the building. Studies of the 1979 El Centro, 1987 Whittier, 1989 Loma Prieta, and 1994 Northridge earthquakes, as well as mounting evidence from earthquakes outside the United States, confirm this pattern of injuries. DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON reduces the likelihood of serious injury from falling objects.

After the Shaking Stops

Be prepared for aftershocks which can occur in the first hours, days, weeks or even months after the quake.

Help injured or trapped persons.

Check your home or building for damage. Leave the area if you smell gas or chemical fumes.