Aftershocks likely to continue following 6.5 magnitude earthquake near Mina

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Seismologists at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) are monitoring the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit outside Tonopah near Mina last Friday. Dr. Jayne Bormann said aftershocks are likely to continue for months following this event.

She said since Friday we had over 1,400 aftershocks and at least 200 of those were over a 3.0 magnitude. Dr. Bormann said, “In the initial weeks, we will expect to have the most frequent aftershocks, as well as potentially the largest aftershocks, but large aftershocks that can be felt by people, magnitudes 3.0, 4.0, potentially 5.0 can happen for months.”

The most recent aftershocks were reported Wednesday morning near the same area.

Preliminary reports at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory recorded a 5.0 magnitude aftershock around 5:30 a.m. and a 4.0 magnitude aftershock before 3 a.m.

Dr. Bormann said after a large earthquake the chances of another equal or bigger earthquake to follow is initially around 5%, but as days go by that decreases. “Any time a large earthquake happens, this temporarily increases the chances of another large or larger earthquake.”

“The USGS placed the chance of a larger earthquake at 4%, however this is based on global observations. In Nevada, historical evidence suggests that Nevada's chance of a larger earthquake following Friday's event may be higher than the global average, potentially between 10-25%."

The 6.5 magnitude earthquake cracked parts of U.S. Highway 95 and Dr. Bormann said we’re lucky no one was injured. According to Dr. Bormann a 6.5 earthquake is not out of the question for northern Nevada. A major earthquake could hit Reno and cause physical and economic harm.

“Immediate effects of a 6.5 magnitude event in Reno would likely cause damage and destruction to many historic unreinforced masonry buildings in the midtown region, economic losses would likely approach billions of dollars, and it may take up to a decade to recover.”

Dr. Bormann said Friday’s earthquake was in the Walker Lane zone. Last year’s magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 quakes in Ridgecrest, California were in the same zone. She said the area is known to have large historic earthquakes and there are many active faults in that region.

She said all Nevadans should be prepared for an earthquake. “Whenever you feel shaking begin to drop, cover, and hold on until the shaking stops, then move to a safe and secure location.”

“The best time to increase your safety is before the earthquake happens. You can do this by securing your home and workplace before an earthquake, practicing what to do during an earthquake, and making a family plan for what do after an earthquake.”

Information about earthquake preparedness can be found here.

For the latest earthquake information click here.

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