Tonopah earthquake raises questions of seismic safety in Las Vegas valley

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The 6.5-magnitude Tonopah earthquake was felt by many here in southern Nevada. It’s now raising questions if a similar-sized quake could rock the valley anytime soon.

No damage has been reported in Las Vegas, but many people across southern Nevada felt the quake.

There are about a half dozen active faults across the valley, including along Decatur Boulevard. You can tell that the ground is uneven in the area.

Below is a map of some of the other fault lines.

Nevada is the nation’s third-most seismically active state, behind only California and Alaska.

Friday morning’s earthquake outside Tonopah is the largest in the region since another 6.8 magnitude quake nearly 70 years ago, in 1954. That’s according to the Nevada Division of Emergency Management.

The last major quake with the epicenter in Nevada was a 6.0 magnitude quake in the small town of Wells in 2008.

Experts anticipate that a 6.0 to 6.5-magnitude earthquake could happen in the Las Vegas valley. They say we need to be prepared.

“I think it can be considered an indicator that we need to be prepared for earthquakes in our region,” said Wanda Taylor, UNLV Geoscience Professor. “That it’s not in a too populated area, it caused some damage to the highway and things like that, but had it been right under a town or something, it could have caused a lot more damage.”

One woman in Pahrump says she was taken by surprise.

“I was having a really good dream and then all of a sudden, my bed started shaking, and it was going back and forth, back and forth,” said Barbara Cates. “I was getting scared. I didn’t know what it was and I woke up and it was still moving.”

Experts say an earthquake in Las Vegas could cause damage to infrastructure, but they point out that building codes in Clark County have been updated to increase seismic safety.

In terms of how to prepare, you can bolt taller furniture to the ground and also have a three-day supply of things like water and medication.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories