Indy Environment: Earthquakes, Yucca Mountain and Why Everyone is Talking about Walker Lane

By Daniel Rothberg, July 25th, 2019 – 2:00amIndy Environment:  Water & Land
Read the full article here: Earthquakes, Yucca Mountain, and Why Everyone is Talking about the Walker Lane

The Indy Environment newsletter breaks down reporting on water, public land and development. Sign-up here to receive it in your inbox. For suggestions or tips, email daniel@thenvindy.com.

Nevada is turning into California. The latest: Earthquakes.

“Without scaring people, we should be quite concerned that we could have a fairly sizable earthquake,” said Jim Faulds, the director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Two recent Southern California earthquakes shook furniture as far as Las Vegas and have raised questions about the risk of tremors in Nevada. Geologically speaking, the Great Basin is a maze of fault lines, and much of it is still unexplored. Although most associate California with deadly quakes, Nevada is the third most seismically active state (after California and Alaska).

As state geologist, Faulds has spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and was recently featured in a WIRED story that looked at a fault system that extends through Western Nevada.

It is known as Walker Lane.

Walker Lane, Faulds said, accounts for about 20 percent plate motion between the Pacific and North American plates — and it could one day become the main boundary between the plates. But compared to the well-known San Andreas Fault, Walker Lane is disorganized, with smaller faults that make it difficult to assess earthquake risk. What if more than one fault ruptures at once? According to Faulds, there are more questions like that and more research needs to be done.

And there is a Yucca Mountain angle.

The proposed nuclear waste repository sits on the eastern part of the fault system. Last week, Faulds and the director of the Nevada Seismological Lab, wrote to Gov. Steve Sisolak urging more surveying of the area with new technology like LiDAR and new geophysical tools.

“The Walker Lane needs more thorough analysis and Yucca Mountain does as well,” he said.

In general, Faulds said the greatest earthquake risk is in Western Nevada along this fault, but the geological survey is working on a risk assessment for Southern Nevada as well. There have also been tremors across the Great Basin, including the 2008 Wells quake. I’ll be writing more about earthquakes, the science behind them, and the unknowns. I’ll also look at what it means for Western Nevada.”

Shake Out—Don’t Freak Out! October 18, 2018

A message from the Great Nevada ShakeOut: “International ShakeOut Day is October 18, but you can also take action right now to prepare to survive and recover! Start with the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety, share the drill manuals and other guides on the ShakeOut Resources page, and participate in the ShakeOut conversation on social media with #ShakeOut. We’re all in this together – what we do now determines how well we bounce back from the next significant earthquake!”

ShakeOut
https://www.shakeout.org/index.html

https://www.shakeout.org/nevada/

Louise Sattler of SigningFamilies.com explains the importance of ShakeOut, in sign language, open captioning, and voice!

ShakeOut Information in Sign Language, by Signing Families with Louise Sattler
https://www.shakeout.org/california/resources/videos.html


Learn More About Earthquakes

The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology, IRIS, has a great collection of resources communicating and educating about earthquake science. Visit IRIS.edu to navigate to animations, videos, lesson plans, and more!

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
EARTHQUAKE SUMMARY

“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


EARTHQUAKES IN NEVADA

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
http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/_docs/Newsletters/nl14.htm

http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/_docs/Newsletters/nl14a.htm

http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Damaging-earthquakes-in-NV-p/sp037.htm

http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/nhmpc/Presentations/Earthquake_Hazard_Presentations/Earthquake_Hazards_in_Douglas_County_9August2012.pdf

http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/Geohazards/index.html

http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/What-s-shakin-in-the-neighborh-p/e034.htm  (road log covers Genoa fault)

http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Turbulent-times-in-the-Truckee-p/e033.htm  (road log covers faults in the Truckee Meadows)

News from Nevada Today

big%20hill%20seismo%20installation%20dsc_0039
Photo: UNR

Hawthorne, Nev. hit by three magnitude 5.5 to 5.7 earthquakes
by Mike Wolterbeek, Nevada Today, 12/28/16

“Three magnitude 5.5 to 5.7 earthquakes struck about 18 miles southwest of Hawthorne, Nevada just after midnight Wednesday December 28, 2016, the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno reported. Reports so far indicate minimal damage due to the remote nature of the earthquake sequence.”

Read more:
http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2016/hawthorne-earthquakes?utm_source=newsletter122716

 

nevadaradonpotentialmap1180
Photo: UNR


Learn how to reduce the radon health risk
by Tiffany Kozsan, Nevada Today, 12/27/16

“January is National Radon Action Month, and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Radon Education Program is offering free radon test kits and educational presentations at various locations across the state. Free test kits are available at Cooperative Extension offices and partner offices statewide from Jan. 1 through Feb 28, and will also be available at the presentations.”

 Read more:
http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2016/2017-radon-presentations-and-test-kits?utm_source=newsletter122716

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

1954_6_dixie_valley_karl_steinbrugge
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
http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/The-great-Highway-50-rock-tour-p/e044.htm

You can also take a virtual tour of the area and view the scarps—check out the Travel Nevada links on theNBMG Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nevada-Bureau-of-Mines-and-Geology/106397989390636[facebook.com]

This excerpt was taken from NBMG Special Publication 37:
Damaging Earthquakes in Nevada: 1840s to 2008, by Craig dePolo:
http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Damaging-earthquakes-in-NV-p/sp037.htm

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

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“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.”

http://www.shakeout.org/nevada/[shakeout.org]

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

http://www.nbmg.unr.edu/Geohazards/index.html

http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Living-with-earthquakes-in-NV-p/sp027.htm