Multiple earthquakes felt across northern California and Nevada as U.S. Geological Survey records magnitude 5.9 earthquake near Smith Valley
- The US Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, that was about six miles deep, about 3:50 p.m. local time
- The earthquake happened south of Topaz Lake and about 20 miles from Smith Valley, Nevada near the Nevada-California border
- It was felt across northern California including parts of the Bay Area and Sacramento and parts of Nevada on Thursday afternoon
- Just minutes later, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake was reportedly recorded near Farmington in San Joaquin County, officials said
- However, that earthquake has since been removed from the USGS website
The US Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 5.9 earthquake, that was about six miles deep, about 3:50 p.m. local time that happened south of Topaz Lake and about 20 miles from Smith Valley, Nevada near the Nevada-California border.
Then, just minutes later, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake was reportedly recorded near Farmington in San Joaquin County, officials said. However, that earthquake appears to have since been removed from the USGS website.
Those two locations are about 100 miles apart.
Multiple earthquakes could be felt across northern California including parts of the Bay Area and Sacramento and parts of Nevada on Thursday afternoon
Just minutes later, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake was reportedly recorded near Farmington in San Joaquin County – though that earthquake appears to have since been removed from the USGS website
Data from the USGS also shows several smaller earthquakes with magnitudes ranging from 3.1 up to 4.2 happened minutes apart from each other after the 5.9 magnitude earthquake in the Smith Valley area.
The California Office of Emergency Services said in a statement that there are no preliminary reports of damage or injuries.
‘This is a rapidly evolving situation & more details will emerge in the coming hours. We are working closely with local officials to ensure they have the resources and support to rapidly respond to these earthquakes,’ the agency tweeted.
In Nevada, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and its dispatch center told CarsonNow.org that the agency reported feeling the earthquakes.
The outlet noted that there have also been no reports of damage or injuries in the Carson City area.
However, Caltrans – the California Department of Transportation – is reportedly detouring traffic while maintenance crews work to remove fallen rocks on U.S. 395, CarsonNow.org reported.
Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist, tweeted that the magnitude 5.9 earthquake felt this afternoon ‘is a classic normal faulting earthquake for eastern California.’
‘As is common in this region, there are a lot of aftershocks – 10 above M3 in the first hour,’ she tweeted.
She added that a magnitude 6 earthquake is usually felt for more than 100 miles ‘so it is not surprising it was felt in the Central Valley’ of California.
People joked about their experiences feeling the earthquake on Twitter
Hundreds of people also took to Twitter to describe their experiences during the earthquakes.
‘That was the scariest earthquake I’ve ever experienced!,’ @GlennCocoooo tweeted.
Twitter user @Theyloveeash wrote: ‘Why I was in the grocery store durin the earthquake n then all of a sudden I hear this loud ass alarm. I was like yea lemme take my black a** home.’
‘I didn’t feel an earthquake, the earthquake felt me,’ Twitter user @LugarTimmy joked.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @alyssaaaguillen quipped: ‘Pretty sure the world is ending and honestly I believe this earthquake was a sign, I should text him.’
EARTHQUAKES ARE CAUSED WHEN TWO TECTONIC PLATES SLIDE IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS
Catastrophic earthquakes are caused when two tectonic plates that are sliding in opposite directions stick and then slip suddenly.
Tectonic plates are composed of Earth’s crust and the uppermost portion of the mantle.
Below is the asthenosphere: the warm, viscous conveyor belt of rock on which tectonic plates ride.
They do not all not move in the same direction and often clash. This builds up a huge amount of pressure between the two plates.
Eventually, this pressure causes one plate to jolt either under or over the other.
This releases a huge amount of energy, creating tremors and destruction to any property or infrastructure nearby.
Severe earthquakes normally occur over fault lines where tectonic plates meet, but minor tremors – which still register on the Richter sale – can happen in the middle of these plates.
The Earth has fifteen tectonic plates (pictured) that together have molded the shape of the landscape we see around us today
These are called intraplate earthquakes.
These remain widely misunderstood but are believed to occur along minor faults on the plate itself or when ancient faults or rifts far below the surface reactivate.
These areas are relatively weak compared to the surrounding plate, and can easily slip and cause an earthquake.
Earthquakes are detected by tracking the size, or magnitude, and intensity of the shock waves they produce, known as seismic waves.
The magnitude of an earthquake differs from its intensity.
The magnitude of an earthquake refers to the measurement of energy released where the earthquake originated.
Earthquakes originate below the surface of the earth in a region called the hypocenter.
During an earthquake, one part of a seismograph remains stationary and one part moves with the earth’s surface.
The earthquake is then measured by the difference in the positions of the still and moving parts of the seismograph.