Remote Nevada quakes result from stretching crust

Nov 12, 2014 6:09 PM by News Staff

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - A swarm of earthquakes in the remote desert where Oregon, California and Nevada come together can be traced to the constant stretching of the earth's crust.

Glenn Biasi at the University of Nevada Seismological Laboratory in Reno said Tuesday the Sierra Nevada is moving northwest about a half inch a year. That leaves gaps in Nevada's northwestern corner, where one fault has produced hundreds of small quakes.

Similar swarms underneath populated areas have culminated in quakes in the magnitude 5.0 range that cracked walls and toppled chimneys, but this one is so remote that any damage is unlikely.

Since July, the swarm has generated more than 800 tremors that registered on seismographs, but were rarely felt by people. The biggest were two last week of magnitude 4.7.

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