An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 has rattled the California-Nevada border
SAN FRANCISCO — An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.9 rattled the California-Nevada border Thursday afternoon, with people reporting feeling the shaking hundreds of miles away, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
There were no immediate reports of serious damage or injuries.
The earthquake struck at 3:49 p.m. in a region about 250 miles (402 kilometers) east of San Francisco and south of Lake Tahoe. Its epicenter was 4 miles (6.5 km) west-southwest of Walker, a California town of fewer than 900 residents. It was followed by a dozen aftershocks, with at least one with a 4.6 magnitude, the USGS said.
“The ground was shaking pretty bad, and then everything started falling,” said Carolina Estrada, manager at the Walker Coffee Company. Syrup bottles broke, dishes fell to the ground and the roof of the shop caved in a bit.
The shaking lasted 30 seconds or more, she said.
“We ran out of the building,” Estrada said. But the shaking continued, and “boulders the size of cars” fell onto nearby U.S. 395, she said.
Cars were struck by rocks, but nobody was injured, the California Highway Patrol reported.
At one point, rockslides closed about 40 miles (64 km) of the interstate, a major route through the northern Sierra Nevada, authorities said. Portions of the interstate were later reopened, but crews remained at the scene in case of aftershocks, according to the California Department of Transportation.
In Nevada, Reno City Hall was evacuated, Mayor Hillary Schieve told the Reno Gazette Journal.
“It shook pretty good,” Schieve said.
Regionally, “this would be the largest one in almost two and a half decades,” said Graham Kent, director of the University of Nevada, Reno’s seismological lab.
Communities all around Lake Tahoe and as far south as Fresno, California, felt the earthquake, which had a depth of 6 miles (9.8 km).
The quake was “a classic normal faulting earthquake for eastern California,” and aftershocks were common in the region, seismologist Lucy Jones tweeted.
More than 30 aftershocks were reported in the first two hours, including at least five of magnitude-4.0 or greater, the USGS reported.
“People in the area should expect aftershocks for days following an earthquake of this size,” said Jason Ballman with the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California. “We’ve already seen a pretty vigorous aftershock sequence.”
Ballman cautioned that reports of damage or injury might not be available for days because a lot of the shaking was felt in remote areas.
Preliminary reports had indicated two earthquakes striking 25 seconds but 100 miles apart. But the U.S. Geological Survey revised the shaking and removed the report of a magnitude 4.8 quake in Farmington, about five miles (8 km) southeast of Stockton, the Sacramento Bee said.
“While there are no preliminary reports of damage or injuries, this is a rapidly evolving situation & more details will emerge in the coming hours.” California’s Office of Emergency Services tweeted. “We are working closely with local officials to ensure they have the resources and support to rapidly respond to these earthquakes.”