Anniversary of April 24, 1914 Earthquake in Reno—TODAY

Read this 2006 report for details of the April 24, 1914 earthquake [M6.1 ± 0.3] that hit the Reno area.

The November 21, 1910 Tonopah Junction Earthquake, and the February 18, 1914 and April 24, 1914 Reno Earthquakes in Nevada
by Craig M. dePolo and Terri M. Garside (Open-File Report 2006-02)

“The April 24th earthquake was the largest event in the 1914 Reno earthquake sequence, and it was the largest earthquake in the United States that year. The nighttime earthquake (12:34 a.m. PST) caused damage in Reno, and was felt as far north as Winnemucca, as far east as Elko, as far west as Berkeley, and as far south as Randsburg in California; it might have been felt even further out if it had occurred during the daytime. People were awakened from their sleep as far away as the Great Valley in California, and in Sacramento, people rushed to the streets from buildings in their nightclothes. At least five aftershocks were felt through the night following the mainshock; earthquakes were also reported on April 25 and 26, which were either aftershocks or possibly related to a second earthquake source area to the south, closer to Virginia City.”

The earthquake was most severe at University Hill knocking down two chimneys at Manzanita Hall, leveling two chimneys at Lincoln Hall, and toppling the stack on the Hatch building. Glassware was broken and instruments were upset in the physical and chemical laboratories. At least one residence lost several square meters of plaster in a bedroom, had a chimney shaken to its foundations spilling bricks, and had a broken window. In Virginia City, people who were up dashed into the streets, pictures were jarred from the walls, dishes were thrown from shelves, and plaster was broken from ceilings of some residences.”

Seismic Hazards in the Reno-Carson City Urban Corridor
by Craig dePolo (Nevada Geology, Spring 1992)

“The Reno-Carson City urban corridor has one of the highest seismic hazards in the state of Nevada. Historical earthquakes are often the most convincing evidence of a local seismic hazard, and the Reno-Carson City urban corridor has had several damaging historical earthquakes.”

Living with Earthquakes in Nevada
by Craig M. dePolo, Lucy K. Jones, Diane M. dePolo, and Susan Tingley

This handbook identifies the earthquake threat to Nevada and reviews earthquake safety, how to be prepared for earthquakes, and mitigation of hazards from shaking and fault offset.

Be PreparedJoin the Shakeout!

AAA Road to Ready: Disaster Preparedness Made Fun
Nearly 60% of Americans say they’re not prepared for a natural disaster.
Learn what it takes to be ready. Play AAA Road to Ready.

Latest News from the Nevada Geodetic Laboratory

[June 18, 2018] New paper published on the August 24, 2014 M6.0 South Napa Earthquake

“A new paper published by Nevada Geodetic Laboratory Graduate Student Meredith Kraner uses data from high‐precision continuous GPS stations to observe a 3 mm horizontal expansion of the Earth’s crust prior to and in the vicinity of the August 2014 M6.0 South Napa earthquake. The study is a collaboration with William Holt from Stony Brook University, and Adrian Borsa from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. The analysis looks at eight years of continuous GPS data leading up to the earthquake and finds that this pattern of horizontal crustal extension repeats every summer. The effect releases pressure on faults in the West Napa fault system, making them more likely to slip during the summer months. We speculate that large seasonal variability in the amount of groundwater in the Sonoma and Napa Valley subbasins may contribute to the observed changes.

Read more in the paper, which has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, Solid Earth and is available online here:

Also see features from the AGU, AP news, KCBS radio, and Live Science.” (from NGL website)

Anniversary of M 6.4 Earthquake in Reno (1914)—April 24

A pair of earthquakes strongly shook Reno in 1914 and caused light damage to the city. The first earthquake was about magnitude 6 and occurred on February 18th at 10:17 a.m. PST. Shaking in Reno, Sparks, and Virginia City was so strong that people rushed to the streets fearing buildings were going to collapse (dePolo and Garside, 2006). The earthquake lasted for about 10 seconds and broke windows, cracked walls, and sent some parts of a brick firewall crashing to the ground in Reno (REG 2/18/1914). The shaking cracked plaster and tossed contents on floors. The earthquake also cracked windows and caused bricks to fall as far away as Virginia City (DTE 2/19/1914). A second, larger (-M 6.4) earthquake struck Reno on April 24th at 12:34 a.m. PST. This earthquake was stronger than the February event in nearly every aspect, and again people ran out of buildings in Reno. People were awakened from their sleep as far away as the Sacramento Valley in California from the shaking. In Reno, bricks fell from buildings, plaster was cracked, windows were cracked, and dishes were broken (REG 4/24/1914). Four chimneys were damaged up on University Hill (REG 4/24/1914). In Virginia City, people who were awake dashed to the streets, as pictures were jarred from walls and dishes fell from shelves (DTE 4/24/1914). (from NBMG Special Publication 37, Damaging Earthquakes in Nevada: 1840s to 2008, by Craig dePolo)

Information on earthquake preparedness:

Search for your address with this interactive map:

Fairview Peak and Dixie Valley Earthquakes M7.1 and M6.9 — December 16, 1954

Ground offset of about eight feet from the 1954 Dixie Valley earthquake forming the small cliff to the left of the cabin. Karl Steinbrugge photo from NBMG Special Publications 27 and 37.


You can visit the site of these earthquakes and view the scarps using this road guide:
The Great Highway 50 Rock Tour, by D.D LaPointe, David Davis, Jon Price and Beth Price

You can also take a virtual tour of the area and view the scarps—check out the Travel Nevada links on theNBMG Facebook page:[]

This excerpt was taken from NBMG Special Publication 37:
Damaging Earthquakes in Nevada: 1840s to 2008, by Craig dePolo:

On December 16, 1954 there were two large, back-to-back earthquakes east of the Fallon area that were felt throughout Nevada and created several large ground ruptures. The first event, the Fairview Peak earthquake, a right-normal-oblique-slip event, occurred at 3:07 a.m. PST and had a magnitude of 7.1 (Pancha and others, 2006). This was followed four minutes and 20 seconds later (3:11 a.m.) by a magnitude 6.9 event, the Dixie Valley earthquake, a normal-slip event (Slemmons and others, 1965). Both earthquakes created spectacular surface ruptures over a total area of 100 km (62 mi) long and 14.5 km (9 mi) wide, with ground offsets of as much as 3.8 m (12.5 ft) vertical and 2.9 m (9.5 ft) right lateral (Slemmons, 1957; Caskey and others, 1996).

The earthquake was in a sparsely populated region, and there were no reported injuries and only minor building damage and content losses. In Dixie Valley, an “adobe cellar, gasoline tank and water tank, and stone wall collapsed,” a stove moved several feet, and a woman was thrown from her bed due to the shaking (Murphy and Cloud, 1956). In one living room, a piano “kangarooed” its way to the opposite side of the room during the shaking (FS 12/22/54). In the surrounding region, dishes broke, walls and chimneys were cracked in the towns of Austin, Luning, Mina, Rawhide, Fallon, Lovelock, Eureka, and Carson City (Murphy and Cloud, 1956). Damage in Carson City included cracked walls and fallen plaster in the Capitol building, the State Printing Building, and the State Prison (Murphy and Cloud, 1956). Water lines were broken at Lovelock, Mina and near Gabbs (Murphy and Cloud, 1956).

PERSPECTIVE (by Craig dePolo)
After 1959, earthquake activity subsided in the Fallon region and has been at a relatively low level since then. However, Nevada has a rich earthquake history, over 1500 Quaternary faults, and has active deformation detected by geodetic measurements. Major earthquakes are in Nevada’s future and much attention will be focused on these events when they occur and on earthquake preparedness and resilience. Nevada has had a window of opportunity to prepare for the next events, and great things such as freeway bridge seismic retrofits have occurred during this window. But preparedness for earthquakes must continue, especially at a personal level, if we are to have fewer injuries and property losses from future events. “Give the gift of preparedness.”

Great Nevada ShakeOut—October 20 at 10:20


“Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:20 a.m. on October 20th during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills!

Nevadans can join them today by registering for the 2016 Great Nevada ShakeOut. Participating is a great way for your family or organization to be prepared to survive and recover quickly from big earthquakes– wherever you live, work, or travel.”[]

Also check out the NBMG website for more information on earthquakes:

The Great Nevada Shakeout 2016

“The recent earthquakes in Japan and Ecuador have been devastating reminders of how better prepared we can all be. Each year, it is why we join together in ShakeOut – to get ready for the earthquakes in our future. On 10/20 at 10:20 a.m., join your community again and focus on improving your level of preparedness. We are all in this together!”

Get ready to shakeout:[]

Nevada Today NSights Blog: Earthquake Economic Resiliency Forum, Tuesday April 19

Nevada Today NSights Blog:
Earthquake Economic Resiliency Forum
Tuesday April 19

Global experts to inform region on economic recovery after devastating earthquakes:
Earthquake Economic Resiliency Forum for public, economic leaders and disaster officials

4/12/2016 | By: Mike Wolterbeek

You can read the story here:

PHOTO CAPTION: The magnitude 6.0 Wells, Nevada, earthquake in 2008 has been the largest seismic event in Nevada in 42 years. Historically, Nevada can expect to have three magnitude 7.0 earthquakes per century and one magnitude 6.0 or larger every decade.

International experts will join with local seismologists in a public forum Tuesday, April 19 to inform the region on the dangers and probabilities of devastating earthquakes, and how to recover economically as a region.

Contrary to the general public perception, the California-Nevada border region is at risk for large, magnitude 7-plus earthquakes striking the greater Reno-Tahoe region. In a magnitude 6 earthquake, according to FEMA estimates, the region could suffer billions of dollars in damage: $1.9 billion in the Reno/Sparks area and $590 million in the Stateline area.

“Considering the unpredictability of large events anywhere in the western U.S., the local earthquake risk and issues of economic fragility are as important here in Nevada as in California, the Pacific Northwest and Utah,” Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, said. “With the Seismological Society of America having their annual meeting here next week, we have a great opportunity to bring experts together with our community – those who need to put plans in place not only for disaster response but, just as importantly, a plan for quick economic recovery.”

The first of its kind in Nevada, the Earthquake Economic Resiliency Forum, organized by the Nevada Seismological Lab, is for those who hold critical positions within the local, state and federal government, small business owners, large business owners, utilities, real estate agents, news organizations, insurance agents, hospital administration, and interested citizens – anyone who will be impacted by a large earthquake event.

The aim of the meeting is to address specific solutions tailored to our communities and how we might implement them.

Managed properly, this approach can minimize the economic impact in the weeks, months and years following a large event and may be the most important aspect to a community’s long-term health.

“The latter task is no small feat given the current roadblocks that the region faces and an economy that is in an era of unprecedented growth – we must collectively plan today,” Kent said. “The first step toward economic resiliency to natural hazards is to understand all of the interrelated and potentially cascading dependencies that may occur shortly after an earthquake or major disaster.

“Let’s band together, plan together, and be prepared when the next large earthquake hits our community. Remember, on average, this border region experiences one M6 earthquake each decade, and one M7 every 30 years. Let’s take advantage of this extraordinary quiescent period in our earthquake history.”

Guest speakers will introduce an up-to-date view of earthquake hazards within the region, followed by ‘real world experience’ when it comes to building an earthquake resilient community.

Speakers include:

  • Mark Stirling, chair of Earth Sciences Department at the University of Otago, New Zealand who will present lessons learned from the destructive Canterbury Earthquake Sequence;
  • Christopher Burton of Global Earthquake Model in Pavia, Italy with his talk “Back to Normal: Earthquake Recovery Modeling Project, Napa, California;”
  • Cory Lyman, Salt Lake City Emergency Management Program director of the “Fix the Bricks” Program;
  • Dick McCarthy, executive director, California Seismic Safety Commission, in a panel discussion on “next steps;”
  • Several local experts from the Nevada Seismological Lab, the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology and the City of Reno.

The forum is at the Eldorado Resort Casino from 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 19th, 2016. The forum is free and open to the public, pre-registration is required. Please register by emailing Erik Williams at

The forum precedes the annual Seismological Society of America meeting being held in Reno, Nevada April 20-22 at the Peppermill Resort Hotel. The seismological annual meeting has attracted 800 seismologists from around the country and around the world. Inquires can be directed to Graham Kent at”