By Heidi Bunch and Sheri Samson
Mineral County residents were jolted Monday evening when a magnitude 4.4 earthquake hit the area.
According to the University of Reno’s seismological lab, the quake hit around the Walker Lake vicinity, approximately 13 miles northwest of Hawthorne.
The quake was 6.2 kilometers deep and was followed by many aftershocks in the 3.0 range.
Earthquake swarms are not uncommon in this area. The last large swarm was in 2011 when both April and September had Mineral County rocking and rolling with thousands of tremors of all sizes.
As of Sunday, the seismological lab reported nearly 40 quakes around the Hawthorne area and two near Mina. Neighboring Mono County in California had 13 reported.
Ken Smith, seismic network manager for the university, told the Independent-News in 2011 that the Wassuk Range Fault, which Hawthorne sits near the middle of, could potentially one day produce a large earthquake.
“The Wassuk range fault is a major fault line,” Smith said. “It wouldn’t be out of the question for that fault to produce a quake as large a magnitude 7.0.”
No damages were reported, but the quake did startle many residents of Walker Lake.
“I was out on my deck when I felt it start shaking. Turbo, my cat, sensed it first and ran for cover. I felt fairly safe, figured it was about a 4.0, from all my days living in Livermore in the Bay area,” Niki McGuire, a resident said.
A member of the Walker Lake Water Board, Randy Samson was busy cooking dinner when things began to sway.
“It was enough of a jolt that I figured something might fall, but it ended as quickly as it came. Personally, I felt three more aftershocks, which I was hoping would finish the episode and we could get on with dinner,” he said.
He would later drive around the lake neighborhoods checking for water leaks, which may have occurred.
Preparedness is important for residents of Nevada. Knowing that an earthquake can hit at any time or magnitude and having a plan in place in case a large quake was to hit is important.
Nevada is the third most active state for earthquakes.