A magnitude 4.5 earthquake struck just southeast of Nevada’s state capital of Carson City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The earthquake produced strong shaking in the Carson City area at an intensity estimated by the USGS that would frighten many people but produce slight damage. The USGS initially reported the earthquake as a magnitude 5.0 before revising it downward.
There were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries.
Just one picture fell. Maybe huge is a bit of an exaggeration but ... scary!— Michelle Rindels (@MichelleRindels) March 21, 2020
Nevada has been largely quiet of destructive earthquakes since the 1960s, except for the magnitude 6 Wells earthquake of 2008, which caused an abandoned two-story building to collapse and two more buildings to partially collapse, and damaged about 30 others. Officials reported $19 million in damage.
But from the 1850s to the 1950s, there were 22 earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater in Nevada.
Nevada is farther from the main plate boundary dividing the Pacific and North American plates, but the state still gathers seismic strain over the decades that must be released in earthquakes eventually.
Faults in the basin Reno sits in are capable of generating earthquakes as big as magnitude 6.8; a larger fault in the Carson Valley just south of Reno could generate a quake as large as magnitude 7.4.
In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby.
An average of five earthquakes with magnitudes between 5.0 and 6.0 occur per year in California and Nevada, according to a recent three-year data sample.
The earthquake occurred at a depth of 5.7 miles. Did you feel this earthquake? Consider reporting what you felt to the USGS.
Find out what to do before, and during, an earthquake near you by reading our five-step earthquake preparedness guide.
This first version of this story was automatically generated by Quakebot, a computer application that monitors the latest earthquakes detected by the USGS. A Times editor reviewed the post before it was published; and it was subsequently updated by a Times reporter. If you’re interested in learning more about the system, visit our list of frequently asked questions.