Is the Big One about to hit? 240 mini-tremors rock Nevada

0
21


Fears of a huge earthquake have emerged in Nevada after a series of almost 250 mini-tremors hit the city of Reno in just seven days.

A string of quakes, most too small to feel, has rumbled the city since January 11 in what seismologists call an earthquake ‘swarm’.

The largest of the tremors so far, which was picked up by earthquake detecting instruments on Tuesday, measured 2.7 on the Richter scale.

The swarm dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in Nevada, at least temporarily, scientists claim.

Scroll down for video

Fears of a huge earthquake have emerged in Nevada after a series of almost 250 mini-tremors hit the city of Reno (file photo) in just seven days. A string of quakes, most too small to feel, has rumbled the city since January 11 in what seismologists call an earthquake 'swarm'

Fears of a huge earthquake have emerged in Nevada after a series of almost 250 mini-tremors hit the city of Reno (file photo) in just seven days. A string of quakes, most too small to feel, has rumbled the city since January 11 in what seismologists call an earthquake ‘swarm’

RENO QUAKES 

The largest of Reno’s recent quake swarm, a 2.7-magnitude tremor, happened at a depth of 3.7 miles (6 km) below a southern area of the city.

The magnitude would have to rise to a 4.0 or more for many people to feel it indoors, according to the US Geological Survey.

Almost 250 quakes were detected between January 11 and January 18, with tremors continuing today.

It’s unclear what fault system is triggering the swarm, but seismologists said a mountainous region south of the city frequently sees minor tremors.

Two recent seismic events in Reno, including a magnitude 4.4 quake in 2013 and a 4.7 tremor in 2008, were both preceded by hundreds of small earthquakes.

Dr Ken Smith, a seismologist at the University of Nevada, Reno, said a string of smaller quakes can indicate a larger one is on the way. 

‘In a way it’s kind of a heads up,’ he said of the swarm.

Two recent seismic events in Reno, including a magnitude 4.4 quake in 2013 and a 4.7 tremor in 2008, were both preceded by hundreds of small earthquakes.

The researcher added that he and his team pay special attention to earthquake swarms.

He told local news outlet the Reno Gazette Journal that Tuesday’s 2.7 quake was ‘pretty small’.

‘You’d have to be right above it to really feel anything,’ he said, adding that his team had received a ‘few dozen’ reports from residents who had felt the tremor.

The quake happened at a depth of 3.7 miles (6 km) below a southern area of the city, which is home to around 250,000 people.

The magnitude would have to rise to a 4.0 or more for many people to feel it indoors, according to the US Geological Survey.

Almost 250 quakes were detected between January 11 and January 18, with tremors continuing today.

It’s unclear what fault system is triggering the swarm, but Dr Smith said a mountainous region south of the city frequently sees minor tremors. 

Some commentators on social media have noted that the tremors are located near the Ormat Steamboat Geothermal Power Plant.

Geothermal plants, which create electricity by tapping into hot water pockets beneath the Earth’s crust, have previously been linked to earthquakes.

The largest of the tremors so far, which was picked up by earthquake detecting instruments on Tuesday, measured 2.7 on the Richter scale. The swarm dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in Nevada, at least temporarily, scientists claim (stock image)

The largest of the tremors so far, which was picked up by earthquake detecting instruments on Tuesday, measured 2.7 on the Richter scale. The swarm dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in Nevada, at least temporarily, scientists claim (stock image)

The largest of the tremors so far, which was picked up by earthquake detecting instruments on Tuesday, measured 2.7 on the Richter scale. The swarm dramatically increases the likelihood of a major quake in Nevada, at least temporarily, scientists claim (stock image)

Dr Smith said that people need to be prepared for the damage caused by smaller shakes as much as they are for a larger earthquake.

‘Everyone is worried about the big one, but it doesn’t take the big one to knock over your water heater and empty out your shelves,’ he said.

He suggested people secure bookcases and strap down their possessions.

Rising fears of a large tremor in Nevada follow similar concerns that California is due a deadly earthquake, known as ‘The Big One’.

The Big One is a hypothetical earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater that is expected to happen along the San Andreas fault. 

Such a quake is expected to produce devastation to human civilisation within about 50-100 miles (80-160km) of the quake zone, especially in urban areas like Palm Springs, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Contingency plans warn upward of 14,000 people could die in worst-case scenarios, with 30,000 injured, thousands left homeless and the region’s economy setback for years, if not decades.

CALIFORNIA AT RISK OF DEVASTATING MEGAQUAKE

A report from the U.S. Geological Survey has warned the risk of ‘the big one’ hitting California has increased dramatically.

Researchers analysed the latest data from the state’s complex system of active geological faults, as well as new methods for translating these data into earthquake likelihoods.

The estimate for the likelihood that California will experience a magnitude 8 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years has increased from about 4.7% to about 7.0%, they say.

‘We are fortunate that seismic activity in California has been relatively low over the past century,’ said Tom Jordan, Director of the Southern California Earthquake Center and a co-author of the study.

‘But we know that tectonic forces are continually tightening the springs of the San Andreas fault system, making big quakes inevitable.’ 





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here