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.

Carson Valley Earthquake Anniversary—June 3, 1887

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the 1887, June 3 Carson Valley earthquake.

1887, June 3 Carson Valley Earthquake

“This was a violent earthquake in western Nevada’s history, with damaging effects spanning from Carson City to Genoa. Several buildings were likely torn down or parts rebuilt because of earthquake damage.

The earthquake began at about 2:40 to 2:47 A.M. on Friday, June 3, 1887 (PST). It was reported to have lasted from 3 to 10 seconds (in one account 30 seconds) and was preceded by a heavy rumbling sound (which is described as resembling a dead-axe freight wagon driven rapidly over frozen ground, CDI 6/7/87). There are no foreshocks reported, and only three slight shocks were reported immediately following at about 3 A.M. (Table _ lists 12 reported aftershocks from 20 days following the event). Miners coming off work from Gold Hill could plainly see the buildings of Virginia City vibrating and felt the earth moving under their feet (VEC 6/3/87). Some that were outside looked at the moon and noted that the vibration was as plainly visible to the organ of sight as it was to the sense of feeling (VEC 6/7/87). James Raycraft was rushing for a doctor in Carson City when the shock threw him face forward to the ground (MA 6/3/87). Other people on the streets of Carson City were also thrown to the ground (TE 6/4/87). There was general hysteria in Carson City, Genoa, and Virginia City, and most people vacated their premises wearing only the garments they were sleeping in. “The inhabitants of every house in town were roused from their slumbers, and few sought their beds until morning sun gave evidence that another day was granted” (TNT 6/3/87). The streets were filled with people, some badly frightened, some considerably amused, and all chattering volubly over the occurrence, with each person relating their own personal experience (MA 6/3/87). In Genoa, every man, woman, and child apparently joined together in prayers on Main Street.

The 1887 earthquake caused damage to buildings in Carson City, Genoa, Carson Valley, and to a minor extent in Virginia City. Nonstructural damage extended westward into Lake Tahoe, and into the central Sierra Nevada.”

 The excerpt shown above is from page 94 of this publication:
Reevaluation of pre-1900 earthquakes in western Nevada
By Craig M. dePolo, Alan R. Ramelli, Ron H. Hess, and John G. Anderson


Current Nevada Earthquake Activity
Nevada Seismological Laboratory

Historical Nevada Earthquake Activity
MyHazards Nevada
See Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology ArcGIS Web Application: MyHazards Nevada.
Turn on the earthquake layer (expand with the arrow to turn on the lower magnitudes).
Click on an earthquake epicenter to get the date.

Read More Here  (road log covers Genoa fault)  (road log covers faults in the Truckee Meadows)

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.”

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”

Anniversaries of two M 6.0 earthquakes in northern Nevada

Last week there were anniversaries of two M 6.0 earthquakes in northern Nevada:
Reno area—February 18, 1914
Wells area—February 21, 2008

Historical Reno Earthquakes (M 6.0 and M 6.4), February 18 and April 24, 1914

“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 (Reno Evening Gazette, 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 (Daily Territorial Enterprise, 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 (Reno Evening Gazette, 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 (Daily Territorial Enterprise, 4/24/1914).”

Excerpt from Damaging Earthquakes in Nevada: 1840s to 2008, by Craig M. dePolo:

2008 Wells Earthquake (M 6.0), February 21, 2008

 You can read about the Wells earthquake in this publication edited by Craig M. dePolo and Daphne D. LaPointe:
The 21 February 2008 Mw 6.0 Wells, Nevada Earthquake: A Compendium of Earthquake-Related Investigations Prepared by the University of Nevada, Reno.

New! Fault and Seismicity Maps for Northern Nevada

Six new preliminary 1:250,000-scale maps that show Quaternary faults and seismicity in northern Nevada are now available. The faults presented are slightly modified from those on Quaternary Faults in Nevada (NBMG Map 167) and the USGS Quaternary Fault and Fold Database of the United States and show fault activity by geologic age. The earthquake data set is compiled from a modified earthquake catalog by Slemmons and others (1965) which includes data beginning in the 1840s, earthquakes recorded by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory from 1970 through 2014, and earthquakes recorded by seismic networks in California and Utah. The shaded-relief basemap was created from a 10-meter digital elevation model and is illuminated from the northwest. These preliminary products are an effort to create more informative earthquake hazard maps for decision makers and the public.

Authors: Craig M. dePolo and Seth M. Dee
Year: 2015
Series: Open-File Reports 2015-11A–F
Format: 38 x 33 inches
Scale: 1:250,000

Here is the list of all six maps in this series:
Preliminary Quaternary fault and seismicity map of the Vya 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Nevada

Preliminary Quaternary fault and seismicity map of the McDermitt 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Nevada

Preliminary Quaternary fault and seismicity map of the Wells 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Nevada

Preliminary Quaternary fault and seismicity map of the Lovelock 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Nevada

Preliminary Quaternary fault and seismicity map of the Winnemucca 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Nevada

Preliminary Quaternary fault and seismicity map of the Elko 1 x 2 degree quadrangle, Nevada

Click here for an index map of the six 250K quadrangles.

Earthquake Anniversary—6.0 in Verdi, Nevada in 1948

Today, Tuesday December 29, is the anniversary of the M6.0 earthquake in Verdi, Nevada in 1948.

The events shown on the poster Damaging Earthquakes in Nevada: 1840s to 2008, by Craig dePolo, remind us that Nevada is earthquake country and that earthquakes will produce strong shaking within our communities in the future.


Learn more about recent earthquake activity in your area and how to protect yourself from future earthquakes:

Nevada Seismological Laboratory (University of Nevada Reno):  (Phone: 775-784-4975)  (Current earthquake information)  (Sign up to receive earthquake notifications)

The Great Nevada ShakeOut:[]

Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology: