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November 6, 2009
By Mike Wolterbeek
Nevada residents, emergency planners and other public officials will now be able to easily locate homes, schools or businesses in relation to mapped earthquake fault lines throughout Nevada, and, using a new earthquake potential-loss report, be able to assess probabilities and consequences of various magnitudes of earthquakes in 38 communities around the state.
“These new resources will be valuable tools for the homeowner and emergency managers throughout the state,” said Jon Price, state geologist and director of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, a public service and research department in the Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering. “After all, Nevada has one of the highest incidences of earthquakes in the nation and this helps everyone plan and prepare for their specific circumstances.”
The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) has created an online interactive earthquake fault map which demonstrates that earthquakes occur essentially everywhere in Nevada. In addition, the potential-loss report, for virtually all the communities in the state, demonstrates that the consequences of earthquakes can be huge, particularly if individuals are not prepared, Price said.
The report is a major NBMG effort that includes over 400 individual earthquake scenarios using the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s loss-estimation computer model, HAZUS. It includes summary tables showing total economic loss, numbers of buildings receiving extensive to complete damage, number of people needing public shelter and hospital care, and number of fatalities for each of the 38 communities, broken down by numbers for the county in which the community is located and for the entire State of Nevada.
The interactive earthquake fault map of Nevada (NBMG Open-File Report 09-9) and the potential loss report (Open-File Report 09-8) can be found online at NBMG and then clicking on the “New Earthquake Products” link at the top of the page.
Damaging earthquakes are a relatively rare occurrence for any individual community, but, unfortunately, the huge consequences of earthquakes when they strike can’t be ignored, Price said. Nevadans should take stock of their local earthquake hazard and make basic preparations to be safe and survive earthquakes.
People can have a major impact on their well-being during an earthquake by mitigating nonstructural hazards in their homes and businesses, having safe places to take cover during an earthquake, and preparing earthquake survival kits. Information on what to do before, during and after an earthquake is available in NBMG Special Publication 27.
The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) is a research and public service unit of the University of Nevada and is the state geological survey. NBMG scientists conduct research and publish reports on mineral resources, engineering geology, environmental geology, hydrogeology, and geologic mapping.