Geologists mystified by Nevada quake swarms

April 16, 2011RENO – Nevada Seismologists are keeping a close eye on an area southwest of Hawthorne, Nevada where hundreds of earthquakes have been detected since Sunday. It’s a little bit concerning in a sense.. The largest earthquakes in these sequences are pretty large in size.” Graham Kent is Director of Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada Reno. He says there have been hundreds of earthquakes southwest of Hawthorne over the past few days. The largest– recorded at a 4.4 in size. “These are the biggest in a sequence we’ve seen at least in the last couple of years.” Kent says unlike the 2008 quakes in Somersett that damaged so many homes, these earthquakes are fortunately not underneath a community. Size is not the only reason Kent says they are watching the swarm of quakes closely. The location of these quakes is on top of a fault that has until now remained unknown or has not been active. Kent then made an eerie comparison, “Whats really interesting about most of these earthquakes we’ve experienced. Short of the Chilean and Japanese; Haiti, Baha, even Christchurch- we’re on unknown faults. But Kent says just because those devastating quakes happened on un-named faults does not mean that the series of quakes near Hawthorne will lead to a big quake there. Reno, Carson City and the Las Vegas valley all lie on top of fault lines. And right now, there is no way to predict where the next big quake will occur. “That’s yet another reason why you don’t want to look at the map and go phew, I’m safe. We’re in earthquake country and so we have to be prepared. –My News 4
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21 Responses to Geologists mystified by Nevada quake swarms

  1. Kelly says:

    I swear before all the Nevada earthquakes swarms happened I was watching the film Dante’s Peak and one of the characters actually mentioned The Mammoth Lakes which lie in the crater called the Long Valley Cauldrea and the guy said in the film that they warned the town in 1980 after four magnitude 6 earthquakes about a possible eruption that never occured and causd panic. And than low and behold I get online later that day and see that earthquakes are hitting around that area again. Strange to be watching a film that mention something that now is having more earthquake activity. Maybe the residents should be more wary this time since it has been 31 years since those four earthquakes in the 80s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Long Valley is not a traditional hotspot, like Yellowstone, and the source of the magma intrusion under the caldera is still an illusive mystery. In 2010, a series of quakes erupting in the region of Mammoth Lakes- perhaps, that was our first clue that something was amiss. Meanwhile, more faults in the neighboring region are destined to awaken.

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      • MtnMisty says:

        Hi TEP;
        Love you blog and your knowledge is extensive. But, I’m a little confused by what you mean when you state that “Long Valley is not a traditional hotspot, like Yellowstone …”? Maybe it’s the ‘traditional hotspot’ definition that is confusing me?

        From: http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs108-96/
        “Living With a Restless Caldera—Long Valley, California
        Scientists have monitored geologic unrest in the Long Valley, California, area since 1980. In that year, following a swarm of strong earthquakes, they discovered that the central part of the Long Valley Caldera had begun actively rising. Unrest in the area persists today. “

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      • Thanks Mnt Misty and glad you like the site. By traditional hotspot, I mean the Long Valley caldera is not thought to be formed by a volcanic plume or deep hole in the earth’s mantle, like Yellowstone, the ancient La Garita caldera or Hawaii- Nor is the volcano formed on a subduction boundary, where plates interpose as is the case with the Japanese volcanoes. The source of the magma intrusion into the Long Valley caldera is still not fully known. The geology of this region, for the most part, is enigmatic and may harbor many potential dormant fault lines. As the planet awakens- this phenomena may intensify across the world.

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    • buttercup1976 says:

      I have been watching this for a while and was watching the same movie when i first noticed it. Things don’t just happen out of coinsidence. Maybe the fact that two people noticed the same thing just happens to be a warning.
      Of course why is the government not checking on this. It is alot of earthquakes no matter the size. I would think they would be looking into it

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      • There are seismometers along the Mammoth region monitoring activity. The Long Valley caldera went under USGS monitoring in the 1980’s but monitoring doesn’t stop geological processes from occurring. It is to man’s failing- that he separates the planet’s geological past (catastrophism) from the present (uniformitarianism). The Earth knows no such distinction and one of the paramount rules of geology is what happened in the past is capable of happening again. Events can happen in nature- often with no warning. What forces stirred the planet into a geological catastrophe in the past, is still very much kinetic in the Earth and doesn’t abate or resides in suspended animation just because we build modern cities or erect nuclear plants in past geological hazard zones. As in the case with Japan, we have some very painful lessons to learn in regard to respecting the forces of nature. We’re not separate from the creation, we’re encased in it and the sooner we awaken to this reality- the better.

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  2. Kelly says:

    As always thank you Alvin for this site and for continuously updating it with information. Its my go to site to see what is happening around the world. I do believe that more faults will awaken soon too.

    God Bless!

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  3. Paul Demorest says:

    A quick heads-up it’s Saturday April 16, and the Canary Islands are waking up!

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    • Linda Burnett says:

      What is your source, Paul? Nothing recent found on this siamese/half-blown volcano rock 0ther than high CO2 levels in boreholes at the El Teide volcano from 2004 with a 2007 confirmation. Is this the ‘awakening’ to which you refer?

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  4. buttercup1976 says:

    I don’t know if anyone has notices. But there are alot of earthquakes all over. Why is the news not telling us why.

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  5. MeanGirl says:

    There was just a 4.6…do us Nevadians need to be leaving Sin City?

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  6. J. Hamilton says:

    Go to Google Earth and view the epicenter from about 7,000 feet. All of the activity appears to be around an old lava flow. The flows are very distinct. I am not a geologist or volcanologist but I know an ancient lava flow when I see one. Possibly a rift zone? Keep an eye on Mammoth Lakes and the Geysers in North Cal for shallow quakes. An old Geologist friend of mine was deadly certain that Mammoth was going to let loose, just remember that geologic time takes time. Our elected officials and special interest groups asked for it, now we are going to receive it. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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  7. MtnMisty says:

    Interesting line-up of 4 emails in my in box this evening, with newest to oldest:

    1) Magnitude 4.1 – NEVADA 2011 April 16 09:46:32 UTC
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/nn00333335.php
    2) Magnitude 4.6 – NEVADA 2011 April 17 00:45:37 UTC
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/nn00333401.php
    3) Magnitude 4.1 – NEVADA 2011 April 17 00:55:46 UTC
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Quakes/nn00333406.php
    4) Geologists mystified by Nevada quake swarms
    https://theextinctionprotocol.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/geologists-mystified-by-nevada-quake-swarms/

    MtnMisty
    Northern California

    Like

  8. Kathy says:

    This is a wonderful site. Thanks for all of the great info.

    Like

  9. Gail says:

    I am not a scientist, but I am wondering if we haven’t missed smething very basic.
    Newton was able to observe that mass and velocity interact with gravity in terrifying ways (and without seeing a multi car/truck pile up). I believe I understand that in less than a decade the rotation of Earth has been stopped for measurable increments of time. The plates are NOT “anchored” to anything, they are “floating”. That is a LOT
    of mass trying to compensate for 2 unexpected stops. We have no real data for the
    density/fluidity of the material(s) they are “floating”on, nor the amount of mass involved, nor the “rate of flow” caused by our “normal” rotation. Just an idea for
    discussion. The idea of uncontrolled bumper cars this size, without drivers but at full tilt and I’m along for the ride doesn’t really thrill me, even if space for movement is relatively cramped.

    Like

  10. Dave says:

    This looks like a swarm related to a magma intrusion. There are lava flows and at least one crater within 10 miles – and farther southwest you have Mono Lake which has had volcanic activity in the last 1000 years. Magma is going to take the path of least resistance to the surface and sometimes that means a surface flow miles away from the source. Craters of the Moon in Idaho is an example of a surface flow from the Yellowstone magma chamber that is ~100 miles from the Yellowstone Caldera.

    There are numerous points on the east side of the Sierra Nevada mountains where there has been recent volcanic activity. Not just Mono Lake, Long Valley and Mammoth Mountain but also Steamboat near Carson City, Volcano Peak just northeast of Pearsonville, CA, and the steam explosion craters in Death Valley NP.

    The Sierra Nevada Mountain range is caused by uplift associated with a subducted plate that is still melting underneath California, Nevada and Arizona. There are lots of points where magma has reached the surface – even a group of cinder cones and lava flows in The Grand Canyon NP. We should expect more in the future and perhaps this is the next one. If we do see something I suspect it will follow the same cycle as the nearby lava flows or Mono Lake eruptions – not a large scale caldera eruption that we have been worried about happening in Long Valley. However – you never know – you have to start with a massive eruption to get a caldera.

    Visit this web site to review the known magma chamber located near the recent earthquake swarm.
    http://energy.usgs.gov/other/geothermal/

    Liked by 1 person

  11. oshay says:

    not anymore now 5.8 just hit almost knocked my house down.

    Like

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