RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - More than 50 earthquakes have hit central Nevada near Hawthorne since 12:18 Wednesday morning, according to the US Geological Survey.
The Nevada Seismological Laboratory also reports several quakes continued to shake near Hawthorne early the morning of December 28, 2016.
According to the seismology lab, three magnitude 5.5 to 5.7 earthquakes struck about 18 miles southwest of Hawthorne just after midnight. Reports so far indicate minimal damage because of the remote nature of the earthquake sequence, but there are reports of things falling of shelves of homes and businesses. Mineral County resident David Ziegler shared photos of what he says is quake damage at the historic 9-Mile Ranch; those photos are attached here.
The Mineral County side of Bodie Canyon Road is closed because of boulders in the road as a result of the quakes.
Per Nevada Department of Transportation protocol following any 5.0-plus quakes, area bridges have been inspected with no findings of damage.
Strong shaking was reported in Hawthorne and Bridgeport, California, and the earthquake was felt as far away as San Francisco, Reno, Las Vegas and throughout California's Central Valley. More than 10,000 Nevada and California residents felt the events and posted responses to the
USGS “Did you feel it?” website. Many more posted on social media, including KOLO's.
As of Wednesday afternoon,17 earthquakes larger than magnitude 3.0 have occurred, including two magnitude 4.0 to 4.1 temblors.
The Hawthorne area is a seismically active region, with thousands of earthquakes recorded in a swarm during March and April in 2011. The 2011 sequence included 10 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 to 4.4. Wednesday’s sequence is about 5 miles due west of the 2011 sequence area. Recent activity, since 2015, has included earthquakes greater than 4.0 just west of Walker Lake that were also strongly felt in Hawthorne.
The town of Hawthorne, along US Highway 95, has a population of 3,200. It's about 100 miles southeast of Reno and 70 miles south of Fallon.
To better monitor the evolving sequence, members from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, working with the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, California Office of Emergency Services, and the USGS, are investigating access to this remote region, including a snowbound communications site outside of Hawthorne that is critical for establishing radio links for portable stations that could be deployed to better monitor the sequence.
“Ongoing activity southwest of Hawthorne is a reminder to all Nevada and California citizens to be earthquake prepared, since this level of activity – or greater – can occur anywhere in our state,” Graham Kent, director of the University’s Nevada Seismological Laboratory, said. “In the event of an earthquake, everyone should remember to drop, cover and hold on. It’s important to have a family plan, food and water supply for several days.”