Magnitude-6.5 earthquake is largest in Nevada in past 66 years

An earthquake with a revised magnitude of 6.5 hit a remote area of Nevada on Friday morning, about 225 miles northwest of Las Vegas and near the California b...

Posted: May 15, 2020 8:04 AM
Updated: May 15, 2020 3:30 PM

An earthquake with a revised magnitude of 6.5 hit a remote area of Nevada on Friday morning, about 225 miles northwest of Las Vegas and near the California border, the US Geological Survey says.

The quake, which was 4.7 miles deep, occurred at 4:03 a.m. local time, the USGS says.

The revised ranking makes the quake the first large one since 1954, said Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory.

'As the third most seismic state in the nation, we kind of had a streak of not having big earthquakes for 66 years,' Kent said.

'This was a magnitude 6.5, and it was certainly felt in the Reno-Tahoe area, and also throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys in California,' Kent said.

The earthquake was 'widely felt,' USGS spokesman Paul Laustsen told CNN.

'There have been almost 8,000 'Did you feel it' reports, with people logging into USGS to report it,' Laustsen said.

The Nye County Sheriff's office took video of the damage to US 95 in Esmeralda County.

'As you can see, the highway has shifted at mile marker Esmeralda 89,' Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly says in the video. 'A Nye County patrol is on the way to Gabbs to meet with the townspeople, assess damage, and assist them.'

Wehrly also said that they have discovered some broken windows in Tonopah.

Esmeralda County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Stritenberger felt the main earthquake and it was the biggest one he's ever experienced, he said.

Deputies are checking out reported damage on US 95.

'North- and southbound is undriveable around mile marker 89,' Stritenberger said. 'According to people who called it in, it's buckled really bad.'

The epicenter was about 35 miles west of the town of Tonopah, east of the Sierra Nevada range, according to the USGS. The USGS gave an initial report of a 6.4 magnitude.

The USGS said in its aftershock forecast that there will be between 63 and 260 aftershocks with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater over the next seven days. There is a 4% chance of one with a magnitude of 6.5 or more.

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It was a slightly cooler day for northern California today, but a more significant cooling is arriving tomorrow, along with a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms over the mountains of northwest California.
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