Residents feel magnitude 5.9 earthquake

Aftershocks rattle small resort town south of Topaz Lake

Boulders shut down U.S. Highway 395 when a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck near Walker, Calif., last week.

Boulders shut down U.S. Highway 395 when a magnitude 5.9 earthquake struck near Walker, Calif., last week.

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 A 5.9 magnitude earthquake with its epicenter near Walker, Calif., rolled through a two-state area Thursday afternoon causing minor damage and frayed nerves.
Residents in the tri-area communities of Fallon, Fernley and Silver Springs reported a rolling motion and glass clinking when the magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck at 3:49 p.m. The earthquake’s magnitude could change after further analysis by the University of Nevada, Reno Seismological Lab and the United States Geological Survey.
The USGS has pinpointed the epicenter in the Antelope Valley with more than 100 aftershocks clustered in the area. According to the Record-Courier newspaper in Gardnerville, the earthquake sent rocks into the highway in the Walker River Canyon trapping one motorist near Sonora Junction. U.S. Highway 395 was closed at 4:20 p.m. for about an hour while California Department of Transportation workers cleared rocks from the road at a few points along its length.
Although the Walker area is sparsely populated, the nearby community of Coleville, Calif., along U.S. 395 provides housing for Marines who are assigned to the Mountain Warfare Training Center located at Pickel Meadows on California State Route 108. The Bodie Foundation reported no damage to the historic ghost town southeast of Bridgeport.
Andrea Goodrick of Fallon is no stranger to earthquakes.
“Being from California I've felt my share of earthquakes, but this one actually made me feel nauseous or sea sick for lack of a better word,” she wrote on the LVN Facebook page.
Holly Inez Slowan felt the earthquake in Fernley.
“My couch was shaking good for about 3 minutes, and my chandelier was swinging back and forth,” she said.
Judy Kosieris said she felt the earthquake in Silver Springs.
Thursday’s earthquake and aftershocks are the strongest to hit Nevada and California in almost 14 months.
A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck 37 miles west of Tonopah on May 15 followed by a series of aftershocks felt throughout the region.
Information from both the U.S. Geological Survey and the Nevada Seismological Lab at the University of Nevada, Reno reported at least 15 aftershocks through 6:01 a.m., less than two hours after the Monte Cristo Earthquake struck.
Both the Mineral and Nye County Sheriff’s offices reported U.S. 95 was damaged and closed. Other reports said groceries were knocked off the shelves at several Tonopah stores.
People from as far east as Salt Lake City, Utah, to near the Mexico border reported a strong rolling earthquake that woke thousands of people up from their sleep. Residents in western Nevada flooded law enforcement with calls after the first quake hit.
Northern Nevada and the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada have been active with a number of earthquakes and aftershocks since March when a 4.5 magnitude tremor shook the Prison Hill area southeast of Carson City, and dozens of aftershocks continued for several days.
The strongest aftershock registered a magnitude 3.0.
In April 2020, a small earthquake and a series of aftershocks occurred near the Mono Lake-Lee Vining area of eastern California near the Sierra Nevada range, but they caused no significant damage. The Nevada-Eastern California border region has a history of large, damaging earthquakes. Two major earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.4 and 7.1 and series of aftershocks near Ridgecrest, Calif., over the Fourth of July weekend in 2019 not only disrupted everyday life for the town and surrounding area but also ceased most operations at the massive Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake 325 miles southwest of Fallon.
They were the strongest earthquakes to hit California in two decades.
Churchill County is no stranger to earthquakes. A series of tremblors both east near Fairview Peak and northeast of Fallon in 1954 caused considerable damage in the region. The quakes ranged from a magnitude 6.6 to 7.1.
The strongest earthquake in Nevada during the past 25 years up until May 15 occurred in Wells, a small community between Elko and Wendover. On February 21, 2008, a magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck the city, causing to damage to about 700 structures included the high-school gymnasium.
The University of Nevada, Reno said scientists have combined decades of data and the latest technology to study the Walker Lane, an approximately 1000-kilometer-long (625 miles) corridor riddled with hundreds of earthquake faults.
The USGS detailed additional information on Thursday’s earthquake.
“The earthquake occurred as the result of normal faulting in the shallow crust of the North America plate. Preliminary focal mechanism solutions for the event, which describe the style of faulting in an earthquake, indicate slip likely occurred on a moderately dipping fault striking roughly north-south.
“This motion is consistent with east-west oriented extension that is common in Nevada and eastern California. This earthquake occurred along the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada, a major physiographic boundary along the California-Nevada border. Preliminary indications from the USGS reveal the earthquake was a strike-slip where vertical (or nearly vertical) fractures of blocks have mostly moved horizontally.
The USGS said during the past century, 33 earthquakes of magnitude 5 or stronger have occurred within 65 miles the Walker earthquake. In 1994, a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck 24 miles northwest of Walker and a 6.1 earthquake 42 miles north in 1933.
The Nevada Seismological Laboratory 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. For information or to track earthquakes, go to or to the USGS site,

Steve Ranson/LVN, file
Two of the strongest earthquakes in Nevada occurred east of Fallon in 1954.


Be prepared for earthquakes
After any major earthquake, the Lahontan Valley News will publish tips on what to do before, during and after an earthquake. California, Alaska and Nevada are the most active states for earthquakes. Two of the most powerful quakes in Nevada occurred in the 1950s east of Fallon.
This serves as a reminder of what to do in case of earthquakes.
In case of earthquake activity, Be Prepared: Before, During and After an Earthquake
Do you know how to prepare for and survive a major earthquake? According to the California Department of Conservation scientists, it will be critical to have the right answer to that question somewhere at some time in the coming years. Many people think having bottled water on hand is a good idea. That’s true, as long as you have enough. Many are certain that standing in a doorway during the shaking is a good idea. That’s false, unless you live in an unreinforced adobe structure; otherwise, you’re more likely to be hurt by the door swinging wildly in a doorway or trampled by people trying to hurry outside if you’re in a public place. How to be Prepared
Electricity, water, gas and telephones may not be working after an earthquake. The police and fire departments are likely to be tied up. You should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least three days, preferably for a week.
You’ll need food and water (a gallon a day per person); a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher suitable for all types of fires; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money (ATMs may not work); medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water, if necessary; baby and pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove). This list can also be applied to other disasters, such as floods or wildfires.
It’s also a good idea to decide beforehand how and where your family will reunite if separated during a quake and to conduct in-home practice drills. You might choose an out-of-the-area friend or relative that family members can call to check on you.
Securing water heaters, major appliances and tall, heavy furniture to prevent them from toppling are prudent steps. So, too, are storing hazardous or flammable liquids, heavy objects and breakables on low shelves or in secure cabinets.
Discuss earthquake insurance with your agent. Depending on your financial situation and the value of your home, it may be worthwhile.
During an Earthquake
• If you’re indoors, stay there. Get under — and hold onto — a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you’re in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.
• If you’re outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.
• If you’re driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards.
• If you’re in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you’re near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.
• If you’re in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
• Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there’s evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.
• If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.
• Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home.
• Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Remember that aftershocks, sometimes large enough to cause damage in their own right, generally follow large quakes.
If you leave home, leave a message telling friends and family your location.


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