RENO, Nev. (AP) — The head of the University of Nevada's Seismological Laboratory says a trio of significant earthquakes that struck a remote area along the Sierra's eastern front early Wednesday were big enough to cause as much as $1 billion damage if they'd been centered beneath a big city.
The magnitude 5.5 to 5.7 quakes that began shortly after midnight caused no significant damage where they were centered near rural Hawthorne about 100 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe.
But Graham Kent told The Associated Press they likely would have been a "$1 billion event" with fatalities and numerous injuries if it had hit in Reno about 90 miles to the north.
Wednesday's biggest temblor — which was followed by about 20 significant aftershocks — was felt more than 200 miles away in San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Kent says it should serve as a reminder that Nevadans live in the third-most seismically active state in the nation behind California and Alaska.
The University of Nevada's Seismological Laboratory says a series of moderate earthquakes that struck early Wednesday in a remote area near the California-Nevada line were felt more than 200 miles away in San Francisco and Las Vegas.
The U.S. Geological Survey says a 5.7 temblor struck at 12:18 a.m., followed by another 5.7 quake four minutes later in a remote area southeast of Lake Tahoe. A magnitude 5.5 quake hit the same area at 1:13 a.m.
The Mineral County Sheriff's Office hasn't received any reports of injuries or significant damage, but the seismic activity did cause a rock slide in the area.
Graham Kent, director of the university lab in Reno, says the moderate quakes were followed by a series of smaller aftershocks, including two in the magnitude 4 range and at least a dozen larger than magnitude 3.
He says they've been studying the seismically active region along the Sierra's eastern front more intensely since a swarm of thousands of smaller earthquakes were recorded there over a two-month period in 2011.
Three earthquakes in the magnitude 5 range struck early Wednesday about 70 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe, and their rumblings were felt across areas of Nevada and California. There were no immediate reports of problems.
The U.S. Geological Surveys says a 5.7 temblor struck at 12:18 a.m., followed by another 5.7 four minutes later in a remote area 18 miles southwest of Hawthorne, Nevada. A magnitude 5.5 quake hit the same area at 1:13 a.m.
The moderate quakes were followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.
The Mineral County Sheriff's Department in Hawthorne hasn't received reports of injury or damage.
Two earthquakes struck early Wednesday near Lake Tahoe, and their rumblings were felt across areas of two states. There were no immediate reports of problems.
The U.S. Geological Surveys says the two magnitude 5.7 temblors were both centered in a remote area of Nevada near the California line, about 70 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe.
The moderate quakes, which struck at 12:18 a.m. PST and then four minutes later, were followed by a series of smaller aftershocks.
The Mineral County Sheriff's Department in Hawthorne, Nevada, near the epicenter, says staffers felt both quakes, but they have not had any reports of injury or damage. The office says the quakes apparently did trigger burglar alarms at two businesses, and caused a rock slide that did not block a nearby highway.
In addition to Lake Tahoe, the USGS says the quakes were felt in such areas as Carson City, Nevada, and Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes in California, all roughly 60 miles from the epicenter.