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6.5 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Western Nevada

The U.S. Geological Service is reporting that a magnitude-6.5 earthquake struck in remote western Nevada early Friday.

According to the USGS, the earthquake has struck 57 km (35 miles) west-northwest of Tonopah, Nevada.

USGS has provided tectonic summary as:

Tectonic Summary

The May 15, 2020 M 6.5 earthquake 56 km west f Tonopah, Nevada, occurred as the result of strike slip faulting in the shallow crust of the North America plate.

Preliminary focal mechanism solutions for the event, which describe the style of faulting in an earthquake, indicate slip likely occurred on a steeply dipping fault striking either east-west (left-lateral) or north-south (right-lateral).

This earthquake occurred within the Walker Lane, an active zone of seismicity roughly aligned with the California-Nevada border.

Tectonically, the Walker Lane accommodates up to 25% of the North America:Pacific Plate motion, with the remainder mostly accommodated on the San Andreas fault system.

About two dozen M5+ earthquakes have occurred within 100 km of this event over the past 50 years, mostly to the west and south.

Two M6+ events have occurred over the same region in the past century – a M 6.5 earthquake 40 km to the northwest in January 1934, and a M 6.8 event 50 km to the north in December 1932. Both of these earthquakes caused severe local shaking (MMI VIII); the 1932 earthquake is documented to have caused damage in the sparsely populated surrounding region.

As of 12pm UTC, 6 M4+ aftershocks have occurred since the M 6.5 earthquake, extending over a region about 30 km to the west of the mainshock.

The quake’s depth was estimated to be 4.7 miles (7.6 kms) deep.

Some people are tweeting that they felt it in California.

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