New geological study finds Nevada’s future could be quite shaky

September 13, 2011 RENO – Geologists have commissioned a new study in Nevada. They want to determine specifically when earthquakes have occurred along the Genoa Fault, the most seismically active fault in the state. Nevada is the third most-active state for earthquakes behind Alaska and California. A highly destructive earthquake of the 7.0 or greater magnitude generally occurs every 30 years in Nevada, but one of 6.0 to 7.0 range occurs each decade. The largest Clark County earthquake in the last 10 years was one of 3.5 magnitude in 2001. The largest quake in Nevada’s history was a 7.1 which occurred in 1915. But even in recent days two small tremors were recorded near Indian Springs by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at UNR. Las Vegas does not have earthquakes nearly as often as Reno or other parts of Northern Nevada. But a 2002 study found eight faults in Clark County, including one under the Strip. Strong earthquakes, meaning of 6.0 or greater magnitude, are expected to occur in Southern Nevada every 1,000 years to 10,000 years. The most intriguing find in the Southern Nevada study, done by geoscientists from Lawrence Livermore and Nevada’s two universities, was that soils under Las Vegas are subject to liquefaction in an earthquake. That means big buildings could be toppled as the earth under them turns to liquid. In a 2009 study, Price and his staff determined that a 6.0 earthquake centered in the Frenchman Mountain Fault in Las Vegas could result in 280 deaths and $7.2 billion in damage. Based on their study of the Genoa Fault over two decades, geologists have determined that an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude there potentially could kill hundreds of people and cause $2 billion in damage in Northern Nevada cities. Nevada’s largest earthquake in the 21st century was a 6.0 tremor that rocked Wells in Elko County on Feb. 21, 2008. No one was killed but damage exceeded $9 million. A fault is a break in earth when one side moves in relation to the other, Price said. When there are sudden and strong movements, earthquakes occur on the faults. Often the earthquakes do not break the surface. In the Genoa area, that banging of earth forces has caused a displacement, or slip, in rock formations and mountains. Just south of Genoa is a gravel pit where an earthquake caused more than a 15-foot slip of one side of the fault compared to the other side. “The more the displacement, the bigger the earthquake,” Price said. There are faults all over Nevada, and they and the earthquakes have created the mountains and valleys of Nevada. –LVRJ
This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Landslide & geological deformation, Seismic tremors. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to New geological study finds Nevada’s future could be quite shaky

  1. nickk0 says:

    So now, besides St.Louis, MO., and Memphis, TN., we also have to worry about Las Vegas, NV., being completely destroyed in a ‘surprise’ quake, due to soil liquefaction.

    – Nick


    • Soil liquefaction is a very unique, rare and dangerous phenomena associated with shallow earthquake stress. America is sitting on a lot of dangerous terrain and that’s only now apparently coming to light with the public. The preamble for the dangers of change we warned about as the planet dips into the extreme are clear and present.


    • Rita says:

      Nova (the tv series) had a fascinating episode on the Fukushima quake/tsunami. And there was video of the liquefacation. I had never seen that phenomenon before. I assumed it was some kind of magma – but it wasn’t.


  2. marching says:

    Some people LOVE to gamble. The really worst part about the possible earthquake is all the crap buried in the ground that might escape.


  3. I’ve been watching the activity in Nevada for some time. Many people don’t realize how earthquake prone the area is. The Weather Channel had one of their “It Could Happen Tomorrow” programs about a possible Las Vegas earthquake. Would not be a pretty sight.

    On another note, did anyone see the 2.6 quake in the Mount Rainier area? I’m praying it is just a hiccup and not a precursor for things to come. A lahar would be devastating.

    Be blessed and Maranatha


  4. Michael says:

    Yeah, Nikko. No need to worry about Reno, where I live. Just Vegas.


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