LAS VEGAS -- Nevada is among the top three states in the nation for earthquake activity. Las Vegas hasn't been hit with a major quake since 1952, but city leaders are preparing for the worst.
Although most of the state's seismic activity is never felt by people, geologists can pinpoint seven major fault lines in the Las Vegas valley. One of those lines, the Valley View fault, is near Sahara Avenue and Valley View Boulevard. Another fault line, the Cashman fault, is underneath the U.S. 95, just east of downtown.
City leaders met Monday in Las Vegas to talk about the valley and future earthquake dangers. Less than five years ago, a quake measuring six points hit Wells, Nev., 300 miles north of Las Vegas. It damaged several buildings and homes in the small community.
"We also know that the magnitude 6 quake in Wells ... has the same probability of occurring here," seismologist Graham Kent said.
According to Kent, evidence shows major magnitude earthquakes have happened in the valley in the past 10,000 years. He said it is not a matter of if it will happen, but when it will happen.
"You have to realize that there are fault lines in California that are very large and capable of a magnitude 7 and 8 that are going to funnel into the Las Vegas basin.
The concern has brought city leaders together to prepare for the worst. There will be an earthquake preparedness drill on Thursday in schools and hospitals. It is the first of its kind in the valley.
"I understand from all the authorities and first responders, we're going to be doing it twice a year," Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said.
Kent believes old brick buildings and unreinforced structures would be compromised if there was a sizeable quake.
Most of the hidden faults in the valley remain dormant -- for now.
"Some day our number will get pulled out of the hat and hopefully we'll be ready," Kent said.
The two top states for earthquakes are Alaska and California.