Another worrying earthquake swarm hits Lake Tahoe – Scientists concerned about the potential for a tsunami

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The biggest earthquake, with a magnitude of 4.2, briefly startled lawmakers in session in the Nevada capital. There were no immediate reports of damage, but seismologists are concerned about a recent series of quakes near the lake and the potential for a tsunami.

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Another earthquake swarm hits Lake Tahoe on May 28 2021. Earthquake map via USGS

At least six earthquakes, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 4.2, shook the Lake Tahoe, Reno and Carson City area early on Friday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The strongest one struck near the north end of the lake at Dollar Point, Calif., around 8:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. There were no immediate reports of damage.

It came as Lake Tahoe’s resorts and tourist destinations prepared for a Memorial Day holiday that they hope will help lift the pall of the coronavirus pandemic and as legislators in Nevada’s capital met in early sessions to finish business before heading home for a long weekend.

It was also the latest in a series of quakes that had seismologists watching the Lake Tahoe area closely, concerned that a bigger quake could create a tsunami.

The strongest quake on Friday interrupted Senator Julia Ratti’s presentation before an Assembly Committee on Ways and Means hearing.

The geological survey initially reported that the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 4.1, but that was revised higher. It followed an earlier one with a preliminary magnitude of 2.9, around 5 a.m. local time in the Dollar Point area, according to the U.S.G.S.

Later Friday morning, four more smaller earthquakes were reported, with preliminary magnitudes ranging from 2.7 to 3.1, according to the geological survey.

Tsunami danger

The 4.2 earthquake is part of an continuing sequence that began with a magnitude 3.7 earthquake on April 25.

Dr. Graham M. Kent, the lab’s director, said there had been “many dozens” of earthquakes since then of magnitudes between 1 and 3.

He said such sequences were being closely watched by seismologists because if the current sequence continued, it could trigger one of the two main fault lines beneath the lake, and that in turn could set off a tsunami wave as high as 30 feet.

The two fault lines of concern last ruptured 4,500 years ago, and are 1,000 years past their average occurrence or rupture,” Dr. Kent said.

Alex Hatem, a U.S.G.S. research geologist, said the 4.2 earthquake this morning occurred in a faulting area known as the Walker Lane that had “complex and closely spaced faults of different styles,” which made it difficult to determine which fault ruptured on Friday.

Residents have been feeling earthquakes and swarms over the past couple of months pretty regularly. So far, it did not appear there had been damage to anything but people’s nerves. But wait until the Big One hits and lashes a destructive tsunami… [NYT]

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4 COMMENTS

  1. TAHOE IS A LARGE VOLOCANIC CALDERA,.meaning ITS A VOLCANO,and yes its warning NOW of a coming eruption,just as ALL the sierra mountains are,South to north,but hey ,it’ll be fun to see what happens ,ALL OF GODS PROPHETS have warned everyone to get away from the coast,hope all you have submarines in your yard ready to launch…

  2. Food for thought—not saying it is but possible. DUMBS have been active in region and if quakes are around 10K deep then good chance bombs going off down under—just saying— For any that may not know what a DUMB is, it is a Deep Underground Military Base used for nefarious reasons. China Lake gives some incite. Remember this was blown up and can be researched for those that think I am full of it—-

  3. I had to stop the video of the shemale in green hair. Anyways, maybe a big earthquake would straighten out that wicked state.
    Sooner or later, it will happen at the rate they are going — as far as the corruption and perversion. That is what ruined that golden state.

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