Thursday, February 21, 2008

Magnitude 6.0 Quake in EASTERN Nevada?

How strange is that? The quake, which struck this morning, had a magnitude of 6.0, and caused some rather extensive damage in the historic downtown district of the town of Wells. Something like 25 building facades were damaged, and 3 people suffered minor injuries. The quake is a surprise if you consider the history for the region. Out of nearly 76,000 recorded quakes through 1992, there are barely any recorded in the northeastern part of the state. Although the mountains there resulted from basin and range style normal faulting, most of the action occurs at the margins, along the Sierra Nevada, and in a zone extending from Winnemucca into California. I noticed a lack of aftershock activity at first; I wonder if it is because of sparse seismometer coverage in the region.

I offer best wishes for a quick recovery and rebuilding for those in the affected region. It is one of my favorite parts of the world as far as geology is concerned. The picture below is from our 2006 Pacific Northwest field trip, showing the Ruby Range just south of Wells, and not far from the epicenter of the quake. It was considered for inclusion into Great Basin National Park in the 1980's.
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