RENO, NV - We’ve heard often enough that we live in one of the most active seismic areas in the US, but just where in our state is the earthquake danger highest?
The Nevada bureau of mines and geology has a new tool to help you find that answer: An earthquake fault map that take it down to the street level.
We're reminded from time to time the earth beneath Nevada is not at rest. Sometimes those reminders come with a damaging jolt--a pair of big quakes in 1954, the strongest, a 7.2 temblor caused damage in Fallon.
A smaller quake like the 6.0 in Wells in 2008 was strong enough to shake buildings and crack walls. Even the relatively minor quakes that hit the Verdi Mogul area the same year were enough to rattle nerves. So we know we're earthquake prone, but where do we stand literally where we live and work?
The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology unveiled a way for you to find out. It's an interactive map of the state. It's quake history. It turns out it's all around us.
If you zoom into Truckee Meadows, you’ll see our valley from a seismologist's point of view. A big orange swath traces a mile or two of South Virginia Street and adjacent neighborhoods. A quake as strong as the Wells temblor centered here would see the destruction of hundreds of buildings in the valley, serious damage to many others.
But it's not a question of if that quake is coming, just when. State Geologist Dr. Jon Price says, “The probability of getting a 6.0 quake within the next 50 years is about 67 percent.”
Knowing just exactly where known faults lie can be helpful, if you're planning to build or remodel. If it's the home you're living in now, there's probably not much you can do about the structure itself, but Price recommends retrofitting, such as securing hot water heaters and moving heavy objects off the walls.
If you find your home or business lies outside those fault zones doesn't necessarily mean you're safe. As we saw in Wells, earthquakes can occur along faults that were previously unknown to scientists. And a significant quake can shake the ground a considerable distance from the fault.