Mineral County residents are still feeling the after affects of last Wednesday’s three large earthquakes which jolted many from a dead sleep.
The two magnitude 5.7 quakes just past midnight and the 5.5 an hour later shook residents, but it seems that the after affects of the hundreds of smaller quakes that followed are beginning to take their toll on many.
Mineral County is not unfamiliar with the rattling and rolling that many of these quakes bring. In the past we have had short bursts of “swarms” where many smaller quakes are pinpointed in one general area and as quickly as they begin, they end.
According to the University of Nevada Seismologic Lab, the strings of earthquakes which have followed the Dec. 28 event are categorized as aftershocks and not swarms.
“If the earthquakes are close in time to the large event, they are categorized as aftershocks,” Tom Rennie with the seismological lab stated.
“The larger the magnitude of the quake, the more aftershocks you can have. Some can last months,” he stated.
Rennie did indicate that the lab has been swamped with data after the Dec. 28 earthquake. He could confirm that there have been nearly 20 quakes larger than 3.0 magnitude in the Hawthorne area, only. That does not include areas such as Bridgeport or Gabbs area. As for the smaller aftershocks, he said, “We have had into the hundreds of smaller quakes. Many which have not been reported. We need to look at the data.”
Rennie pointed out that the damage done to Nine Mile Ranch is a perfect example of what can happen during an earthquake. A separate article on the damage is included in this week’s edition of the Independent-News.
Mineral County has always been a haven for earthquakes. The largest quake in recorded Nevada history happened on Dec. 20, 1932 at Cedar Mountain, also located in Mineral County. The earthquake was measured at 7.2 and hit at 10:10 p.m. Minimal damage occurred but two cabins were reportedly destroyed as well as an ore-treating plant. Just like the 5.7 quake last week, rockslides occurred. It was reported that it was felt from the “Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from San Diego to southern Oregon.”
Recently, the Wells Earthquake did $10.5 million in damage on Feb. 21, 2008. Residents were just beginning their day when it hit at 6:16 a.m. All 700 residential structures in Wells saw some sort of damage. Twenty were completely destroyed. Despite the damage, no one was seriously injured.
Very few damages were reported in Mineral County. Jack Desai, owner of America’s Best Inn and Suites reported cracking in the walls/ceilings of his motel. Other resident reported figurines and glassware that were broken during the large shakes.