Aftershocks continue in Reno

RENO, Nev. " More than two dozen aftershocks shook Reno on Saturday as a nine-week-long swarm of temblors prompted some residents to spend nights outside in campers and trucks.

Since a magnitude 4.7 quake emptied store shelves and cracked walls on April 25, Phil Oberlander has spent nights in his boat parked in front of the house.

"I was in a car wreck that was less violent than the earthquake," Oberlander told the San Francisco Chronicle. "When you get a hundred of them in one day, you start to feel like you are in Berlin in 1944."

Residents are hoping for an end to the sequence of mostly minor quakes that began Feb. 28 on the densely populated west edge of the city.

"I know people in the Bay Area think we are wimps, and 4.7 is not very big," said Sandy Wyosnick, who now sleeps in a camper in the backyard. "But when it's right under your feet, it's big."

The strongest aftershock Saturday measured 2.3 and was recorded shortly before 2:30 a.m.

The swarm has produced more than 600 quakes greater than magnitude 1 and 5,000 temblors at some level, said John Anderson, director of the seismological laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno.

While the number of temblors has leveled off over the last several days, Anderson said, the threat of a major quake is not over.

Scientists urged residents to prepare for a major quake after the 4.7 temblor. They have said the swarm was unusual in that the quakes had started out small and built in strength.

Reno's last major quake measured 6.1 on April 24, 1914.

Local officials are pondering their options after the 4.7 quake triggered a rockslide that destroyed part of a wooden flume that carries water to one of two Reno treatment plants.

It might be impossible to repair because the rocky slope above it remains highly unstable, said Truckee Meadows Water Authority officials.

With peak water demand looming as summer approaches, "we are in the scramble mode," Paul Miller, manager of operations and water quality for the water authority, told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Up to 200 feet of the flume was taken out by rocks jarred loose by the quake.


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