Earthquake Rattles Northern Nevada

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RENO, Nev. -- A 4.2 magnitude earthquake rattled northern Nevada Monday evening. It hit around two miles northeast of Spanish Springs about 5:52 p.m. People from Susanville all the way down to South Tahoe and even folks in Foresthill, California say they felt it.

The unexpected shake lasted about 15 seconds, but it made a big enough impact to have people talking. While no injuries were reported, it was more than just a small rumble for some people in the valley.

"I thought the floor above us was going to cave in," one senior from the University of Nevada, Reno said.

He was in class when the earthquake hit, an interruption both students and teachers didn't expect to find on their first day of class.

"I lost my train of thought for a couple of minutes while we all gained our composure. We stuck our heads outside; I saw a few faculty members peering their heads out to see if anyone was fleeing the building," a professor at UNR said.

It was a short but powerful 4.2 earthquake that even caused some damage to property.

"That's what surprised me because we're in the old southwest here and there's a crack in my bathroom door frame and up into the wall and it's a pretty good one," Pat Redmon, a Reno resident of 25 years, said.

People who have lived in the area for years say they've never felt anything like it.

"Kind of surprised us how much damage it actually did on there," Frank Martinez, a resident of Sparks, said. "At first I thought it was the kids running in the house, because it started off kind of soft like that and then it got louder and the next thing i know i was shaking on the couch."

The cement floor in his back yard cracked along with the wall in his home.

Ken Smith, Nevada Seismological Lab associate director, says a quake of this magnitude occurs in Nevada at least once a year.

"This is a fairly small event, a magnitude four, we wouldn't consider it a large earthquake," he said. "We shouldn't really consider it to be over yet, there's always a possibility, although small, there'll be another even larger than this."

The good news is the aftershocks were minimal and quakes like this are usually preceded by small swarms in the area, which is a good warning for homeowners of bigger quakes in the future.

Smith suggests homeowners can protect themselves and property by taking valuables off the walls, especially by children's beds, and strapping the water heater to the wall.

"No way to tell, can't forecast it or predict it, could be over completely," Smith said.