(ETH) – More than 500 earthquakes have rattled residents of Western Nevada since the powerful magnitude-6.5 earthquake rocked a remote region 35 miles west of Tonopah on May 15th and hundreds of aftershocks have preceded the event that hasn’t been seen in over half a century.
The large quake that struck on May 15th struck at 4:03 a.m. last Friday east of the Sierra Nevada, roughly halfway between Reno and Las Vegas. According to the USGS, the quake was the largest to rattle Nevada in 66 years and caused cracking along the US 95 in Esmeralda County and shattered windows in Tonopah but the damage was minimal due to a small populated area.
Reports indicate a dozen aftershocks of 4.5 and above and 500 quakes of 2.5 and above have been recorded near Tonopah since the 6.5 quake. “This is your classic shock-aftershock sequence,” said Dr. Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory. “This is similar to what you’d expect in the aftermath of the big quake.”
Nevada has a history of having an abundance of earthquakes and is considered the third most actively seismic state in the US. The largest earthquake in Nevada state history was a magnitude of 7.3 in 1915 and the second largest was 7.1 in 1932. In 1954 alone, the state saw five earthquakes of magnitude 6.5 or greater. “And then it just went cold for 66 years,” Kent said. “We would tell people it’s all going to end and now it has. We knew sooner or later it would break and it broke in an area that’s not that populated.”