First of all, I thought when I moved from Northern California to Nevada, where nothing ever happens except for Vegas, where whatever happens there magically stays there anyway… I would completely leave the whole Bay Area earthquake thing behind. Turns out, Nevada is the number three state behind Alaska and California for earthquake activity, which means we even beat out Washington and Oregon, which, like, blows my mind because don’t they have live volcanoes?
So it turns out that every 25-50 years or so, there’s some major seismic event here in Nevada, as has been the case recently in Wells and with the Mogul earthquakes. I guess since Nevada’s population per square mile has historically been so low that no one ever cared what happens here, like installing nuclear waste dumps at Yucca Mountain, etc… Whatever, no one pays much attention to our seismic activity. But since February, we’ve been having an increasingly powerful series of quakes following a textbook pattern of statisical probability centered in Mogul, from one point something to five point zero.
The kicker, and what makes this series so unique from every other swarm of earthquakes in the world, is how shallow they have been. Apparently, most earthquakes originate from approximately 20 kilometers beneath the Earth’s surface. But the recent Mogul earthquakes are much shallower in origin… only about a mile beneath the Earth’s surface, which means they feel more jolty and intense than what we’re used to in California. But then again, they’re over so much more quickly. The shallowness, however, is apparently unprecedented, and geologists will be be discussing theories about what could possibly be causing such a shallow origination in upcoming conferences. (There’s nothing like having a UNR geologist living right on your block, with a bunch of really smart geologist friends!)
Meanwhile, I have cosmetic stress cracks on my walls, a few broken art pieces that fell down upstairs, and some other items that fell on the semi-shag carpet and survived quite nicely. (Apparently Somersett homes are routinely built to withstand earthquakes at 7.2, though originating at the usual 20 kilometers below the Earth’s surface. The more intense effects of shallower quakes are as yet unknown). I’ve secured my earthquake insurance (well worth the double premium and 10% deductable if you knew anybody who lost their homes in California quakes, and as long as quakes don’t exceed 5.0 there seems to be no moratorium on new polices). And my cat has been hiding under the bed for three days.
The good news is, our probability of a larger quake has been reduced from 80% to 60%… but the next three days will tell all.