Aftershocks from the 4.8 magnitude earthquake that struck Lincoln County continued this week, but no reports of any damage have been received.
On Tuesday, though, there were two aftershocks that measured 3.1 and 3.2 respectively in the same area where the quake hit last week, part of a series of aftershocks that continue in the area southwest of Caliente.
Mickey Cassar, with the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada Reno said, “There have been minor aftershocks, a 3.8 about 20 minutes after the first one, but everything since has been very small, mostly 1 or 2.5 on the scale and tend to be on a north to south trend.” These are normally too small to feel.
The Friday earthquake shook the county, as well as a wide section of southern Nevada, including Las Vegas, where many residents reported feeling the ground move.
The quake, centered about 24 miles south-southwest of Caliente, ended up being more exciting than it was damaging. It was somewhat widespread as well, with reports coming from Caliente, Alamo, Panaca, Cedar City, Utah and Las Vegas. Others in Logandale, Mesquite, and Pahrump also reported the shaking.
Initial reports had the quake measuring 5.4 on the Richter scale, but it was later downgraded to 4.8. It was very shallow, only a depth of about 2½ miles.
No property damage was reported in the county. One person described the slight rolling to “like being on a children’s roller coaster,” and another said, “My house looks like a quake hit it anyway, so it wouldn’t have made any difference.”
County Sheriff Kerry Lee said, “The only real damage we had was a little bit of rock on the railroad tracks in Rainbow Canyon and some on the highway down SR 317, but no other damage reported.” He said the 911 center was inundated with calls for about 2-3 hours. “We were really busy with phone calls, but no damage reported.”
Dishes and glasses shook in several places and domestic animals and pets were a bit nervous, too.
A reporter and cameraman from KSNV-TV NBC out of Las Vegas arrived in Alamo early Friday afternoon and interviewed residents about the quake.
Officials in Las Vegas said there was slight freeway damage on U.S. 95 Southbound to I-15, closing the off ramp there. It was later reopened after some repairs were made to expansion joints, which are specifically designed to give in earthquake movements.
Nevada ranks third in the nation for earthquake activity, after Alaska and California. Quakes happen here regularly but are usually so small a person does not feel them.
Later published reports also said the earthquake renewed questions about the stability of the proposed Yucca Mountain high-level nuclear waste storage facility.
After getting shaken, Lincoln County got soaked. On Sunday night, monsoon-like rainstorm caused minor flooding and some erosion. The Community Environmental Monitoring station in Alamo reported 0.83 inches of rain between 6 and 7 p.m. Caliente recorded 0.25 inches by 9 p.m., 0.57 inches overall, and Pioche reported 0.07 inches at the same time.
Electric power was out in the Alamo area for about two hours.
Lee said there was some minor flooding in places around the county. “Eagle Valley, Echo Road, and the County Road Department were called out to the Echo Canyon road with some water debris over the road, but no real damage.”