Quakes shake Nevada by the thousands

In excess of 17,500 earthquakes were recorded last year by the University of Nevada, Reno, state seismological laboratory.

Included were some in Carson City, as well as nearby Reno and Virginia City.

More than 4,500 were recorded in the remote Sheldon Wildlife Refuge near Vya, east of Cedarville, Calif., according to a news release from the lab. That means more than 13,000 other Nevada and eastern California quakes were recorded in 2015.

Of the total outside the consistent Sheldon wildlife area sequence, there were 54 quakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater, which amounts to just over one per week.

Overall, including the Sheldon region and others, the lab has recorded 19 quakes with s magnitude 4.0 or greater and 160 between magnitude 3.0 and 3.9.

Among the thousands of Nevada and eastern California quakes outside the Sheldon region, according to the lab, there were swarms and less prolonged mainshock-aftershock sequences in Caliente, Carson City, Virginia City and south Reno.

In Caliente earlier in 2015, there was one at magnitude 4.8 that shook Las Vegas. The south Reno swarm, meanwhile, included 231 more recently.

“While the Reno shaking is fresh in our minds,” said Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Lab, “what’s really bumping up from the background rates is the energetic sequence in far northwestern Nevada – the Sheldon sequence.”

He also focused, however, on that Reno cluster.

“The south Reno swarm that just happened produced about 30 earthquakes in two days, and about 200 more in the days that followed,” he said.

“For the entire network, we are averaging about 50 located earthquakes a day,” he added.

Kent said that in Nevada, “we wouldn’t be surprised to see a significant event anywhere.”

The seismological lab is a public service and research department in UNR’s College of Science. It operates a monitoring network and reports quake activity throughout the state.


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