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March 4, 2008
By John Trent
Residents of Mogul, Nev., have felt a sequence of small earthquakes over the past few days, scientists at the University’s Nevada Seismological Laboratory have reported.
Two felt events, of magnitudes 1.9 and 2.2, occurred on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 3:06 and 3:07 p.m. Smaller events have been detected on instruments at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, including a temporary instrument that has been deployed in Mogul.
The Mogul instrument shows that the earthquakes are very shallow (less than 5 kilometers, or about 3 miles), and are located beneath the hills northeast of Mogul, which is located between Reno and Verdi, Nev. off of Interstate 80 West. According to John Anderson, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, events of this size are rather common. He said that every year on average the laboratory records 500 earthquakes of magnitude 2.2 or larger, and more than 2,000 earthquakes of magnitude 1.2 or larger.
Anderson said that the most likely prognosis is that this swarm of small events will end within the next few days. He added that while occurrence of these earthquakes is unremarkable, it is unusual for such small events to be felt.
“These were felt only because they were very shallow, and occurred within a populated area,” he said.
The shaking in these events was reported as very brief, less than one second in duration, and too weak to cause any damage.
Anderson said that although no significant earthquakes have occurred in the Mogul sequence to date, it is nevertheless a reminder that potentially damaging earthquakes can occur anywhere in Nevada.
“Because we cannot forecast or predict where the next damaging earthquake will occur, Nevadans are urged to always be prepared for potentially damaging earthquake ground shaking,” he said.
Felt events in the Mogul sequence (with local time and magnitude):
The Nevada Seismological Laboratory is the lead agency for monitoring earthquakes in the western Great Basin, as part of a nationwide monitoring program that is reported by the U.S. Geological Survey. It is one of a very limited group of universities with regional monitoring responsibilities within the national monitoring network.
Earthquake preparedness information is available from the Nevada Seismological Laboratory website. For more information, contact the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at (775) 784-4975.