‘Big One’ building up? Lake Tahoe hit by series of earthquakes this morning

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A series of earthquakes jolted the Tahoe area awake on Sunday morning. The fourteen quakes hit right in the middle of Lake Tahoe, close to the Stateline Fault, California.

earthquake swarm lake tahoe april 25 2021
Earthquake swarm hits in the middle of Lake Tahoe on April 25, 2021. Quake map via USGS

According the United States Geological Survey, the largest, a 3.8-magnitude quake, struck at 8:33 a.m. It was strong enough that many area residents posted on social media they’d felt the rumble. The epicenter was 4.5 miles southeast of Dollar Point, near the middle of Lake Tahoe. It struck at a depth of 2 kilometers.

Lake Tahoe earthquake swarm april 25 2021
M3.8 earthquake felt across Lake Tahoe area on April 25, 2021. Quake map via USGS

According to the USGS, the first tremor was followed by 13 others, within 4 hours… And the warm is probably still ongoing…

M3.7 – 8km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M2.8 – 9km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M2.7 – 8km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M2.4 – 10km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M1.0 – 8 km WNW of Glenbrook, Nevada
M1.9 – 9km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M1.5 – 9km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M2.3 – 10km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M1.3 – 8 km WNW of Glenbrook, Nevada
M1.1 – 8 km WNW of Glenbrook, Nevada
M1.2 – 9 km SE of Dollar Point, California
M2.4 – 10km SE of Dollar Point, CA
M1.1 – 8 km ESE of Dollar Point, California
M1.3 – 8 km WNW of Glenbrook, Nevada

What are the fault lines in Lake Tahoe?

lake tahoe faultlines, lake tahoe fault lines, lake tahoe earthquakes
Map of fault lines in Lake Tahoe

Stateline Point

There are three potentially dangerous fault lines that run deep under Lake Tahoe. Near Stateline Point (location of Cal-Neva), one fault cuts directly through the area, while an extension of the fault trends northeast through Incline Village.

Scientists believe that these two North Shore faults are part of one system and may tend to rupture together.

West Tahoe-Dollar Point fault zone

Another prominent fault zone is the north-south trending West Tahoe-Dollar Point fault zone. Submerged from Emerald bay to McKinney Bay (near Tahoma/Chambers Landing), the West Tahoe fault continues on to become the Dollar Point Fault. Geologists suspect that both of these faults may also rupture together.

Geologists warn that the faults beneath Lake Tahoe are capable of generating a 7.1-magnitude quake and enough movement to produce tsunami waves exceeding 30 feet in height.

Scientists estimate the risk of a magnitude-7 quake under Lake Tahoe in the next 50 years to be between 3% and 4%.

But have a plan… Earthquakes are kind of unpredictable… Buy your earthquake emergency kit

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