Aftershocks continue to hit near Hawthorne | NevadaAppeal.com

Aftershocks continue to hit near Hawthorne

Steve Ranson
sranson@lahontanvalleynews.com

People who lived as far away as southern California and eastern Nevada felt a series of earthquakes and aftershocks early Wednesday morning that straddled the two states.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, which tracked the earthquake activity, recorded a pair of magnitude 5.7 earthquakes about 19 miles west, southwest of Hawthorne shortly after midnight. The USGS recorded the earthquakes and aftershocks primarily west of the Mineral County seat and northeast of Bridgeport, Calif. At 1:37 p.m., a magnitude 5.5 earthquake rocked an area about 18 miles southwest of Hawthorne.

Fallon and Fernley residents expressed on Facebook their anxiety with the first two large jolts as did residents of Carson City and Douglas County and Carson City.

During a 90-minute span after the first earthquake, the USGS reported 22 earthquakes.

Churchill County and Carson City report no damage.

Prior to the earthquakes rattling Hawthorne, the USGS also showed a small cluster of quakes in the Mammoth area 65 direct miles southwest of Hawthorne and Ridgecrest, Calif., which is home to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake. The Mammoth area has a history of earthquake activity.

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Aftershocks (a smaller earthquake following the main shock of a large earthquake) ranging from magnitude 1.2 to 3.1 continue to hit the area with 16 aftershocks reported between 6:20 a.m. to 8 a.m. in an area 19 miles southwest of Hawthorne and 18-19 miles northeast of Bridgeport. Much of the activity, according to maps, places much of the earthquake activity due east of Bodie, Calif., an old mining town that is a popular visitor attraction.

The Lahontan Valley News Facebook site began reporting on the earthquake activity within 30 minutes of the first earthquake as did the Nevada Appeal Facebook site. Facebook posters in Northern Nevada said they felt the swarm of earthquakes, especially the two magnitude 5.7 tremblers. Other residents from Fresno to Sacramento also said they felt the earthquakes. Residents in Hawthorne reported swaying lights and items falling off shelves, while Nevada's capital felt the effects. The Mineral County Sheriff's Office said they did not receive reports of damage, but that two large boulders fell onto U.S. Highway 95 South in the Walker Lake area.

One Carson City resident wrote, "They are very rolling – seems to be those in Hawthorne I'm feeling most. And can hear a low rumbling with those big ones — shakes my lights and wind chimes."

Nevada is one of the top three states noted for its earthquake activity. The other two are Alaska and California.

Two of the most powerful Nevada earthquakes in modern times occurred in 1954 east of Fallon in the Dixie Valley-Fairview area. They were recorded at magnitude 6.8 and 7.1. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Pleasant Valley, 40 miles northeast of Winnemucca in 1915. Wells, Nev., was rocked by a magnitude 6.0 quake on Feb. 21, 2008, which caused more than $10 million in damage.

EARTHQUAKE TIPS

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 sometime 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 adode 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.

After an Earthquake

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.