A powerful a 6.5-magnitude earthquake rattled western Nevada early Friday morning and was followed by a series of aftershocks, with six of them notably strong.
The Nevada earthquake has just been upgraded to a
M 6.5: https://t.co/c98z7FlFlQ
— USGS (@USGS) May 15, 2020
“A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck near Tonopah, Nevada, near the California-Nevada border and about 120 miles southeast of Carson City, early this morning on May 15, 2020, at 4:03 am local time (11:03:27 UTC),” the U.S. Geological Service reported.
“Seismic instruments indicate the earthquake originated at a depth of 1.7 miles (2.8 km). The quake occurred as the result of strike slip faulting in the shallow crust of the North America plate,” the USGS added.
No injuries were reported as a result of the tremor, but U.S. 95, the highway between Reno and Las Vegas, was closed by the Nevada Highway Patrol after damage was reported.
TRAFFIC ADVISORY: Earthquake damage at US-95 and Esmeralda County MM 89 has closed the highway between SR-360 and US-6 (Coaldale Junction). Use an alternate route and expect delays while @nevadadot makes repairs. pic.twitter.com/QJ0v6FW0Ae
— NHP Northern Command (@NHPNorthernComm) May 15, 2020
U.S. Highway 95 between the U.S. Route 6 junction and U.S. Highway 360, will remain closed until 5 pm today for earthquake related inspections and repairs. https://t.co/AQdAa4GkP9 @EsmeraldaCounty @TonopahNevada @pvtimes @ClarkCountyNV @NHPSouthernComm @NevadaDPS @goldfieldnevada pic.twitter.com/8dH7HYq0Ie
— Nevada DOT (@nevadadot) May 15, 2020
Some on social media were quick to point out the vicinity of the quake to the mysterious U.S. government installation Area 51, which is only about 100 miles from Tonopah.
A Magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck near Area 51. Only one explanation… pic.twitter.com/AeY2H2lzhJ
— Troll Cat (@2p2TrollCat) May 15, 2020
6.5 Magnitude temblor earthquake right near Area 51…. right….totally not connected. pic.twitter.com/07RHPIJ2OS
— ʰⁱᵖᵖⁱᵉ.ⁿⁱⁿʲᵃ (@krisdebolt) May 15, 2020
— Doctor Cuthbert (@doctor_cuthbert) May 15, 2020
Best wishes to the folks at Area 51 who went through the earthquake today pic.twitter.com/hTkmodqMlX
— Willie Phistergash (@Phistergash) May 15, 2020
Others said they were woken up by the early morning quake.
— Kyle Bielfield (@Bielfield) May 15, 2020
Felt it this morning. Woke up to my truck bouncing slightly. Figured it was a quake. pic.twitter.com/CJV1JSjVer
— Ben Lee (@redbikemaster) May 15, 2020
Boy, that was one long #earthquake, wasn’t it, Sacramento?
— Sactown Magazine (@SactownMagazine) May 15, 2020
While some people were having fun with the quake on social media, the USGS is warning of more potentially large aftershocks in the wake of the earthquake.
“This event is already triggering aftershocks, which will decrease in frequency over time. The largest aftershock at the time of writing was a M 5.1 event 23 minutes after the mainshock,” the USGS reported.
The USGS is forecasting more tremors in the coming days and weeks.
“According to our forecast, over the next 1 Week there is a 4 % chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 6.5. It is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes over the next 1 Week, with 63 to 260 magnitude 3 or higher aftershocks. Magnitude 3 and above are large enough to be felt near the epicenter. The number of aftershocks will drop off over time, but a large aftershock can increase the numbers again, temporarily,” the warning read.
“So far in this sequence there have been 43 magnitude 3 or higher earthquakes, which are strong enough to be felt, and 1 magnitude 5 or higher earthquakes, which are large enough to do damage,” the USGS added.
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