June 2014 – RENO, NV – In less than 30 minutes, the Lake Tahoe area had 5 earthquakes ranging in magnitude from 0.8 to 2.8 Friday evening. The first quake hit at 5:13 and was the strongest of the quintet, while the epicenter was 4.4 miles from Mt. Rose. A tsunami-producing fault in Lake Tahoe is overdue for another earthquake, scientists said in 2012 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The West Tahoe Fault is capable of producing a magnitude-7.3 earthquake and tsunamis up to 30 feet (10 meters) high in the clear blue lake, where million-dollar homes line the shore, researchers said. Earthquakes strike every 3,000 to 4,000 years on the fault, and the most recent shaker was 4,500 years ago, indicating the fault is overdue for another earthquake, said Jillian Maloney, a graduate student at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego.
Because the fault crosses the lake, scientists worry a future earthquake will cause a tsunami in Lake Tahoe. The monster waves could form in two ways: by the fault displacing ground under the lake, similar to Japan’s Tohoku tsunami, or by causing landslides that displace the water. A combination of both could also create an even bigger wave. The most recent earthquake in the Tahoe region was about 575 years ago, on the Incline Fault, which becomes active about every 10,000 to 15,000 years. Scientists estimate its earthquake size potential at magnitude 7. At more than 1,645 feet (501 meters) deep, Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California and Nevada border in the seismically active Sierra Nevada region, is one of the world’s deepest freshwater lakes. We will continue to monitor this increased earthquake activity. – KOLO, Live Science