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At least 83 aftershocks follow 6.0 magnitude earthquake at California-Nevada border

Aftershocks are expected to rattle the region for days.
Credit: USGS
Earthquake rattles northern California area after hitting along California-Nevada border

CALIFORNIA, USA — Authorities say a magnitude 6.0 earthquake that was felt across hundreds of miles in California and Nevada didn't cause any major damage or injuries.

The United States Geological Survey said the quake hit near the California-Nevada border southeast of Markleeville. Its epicenter was centered just miles from Walker, California. It was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including nearly a half-dozen of magnitude 4.0 or greater. 

Aftershocks are expected to rattle the region for days.

According to USGS, the quake happened as a result of normal faulting in the shallow crust of the North America plate. Authorities said the slip likely happened on a moderately dipping fault hitting roughly north-south.

As of 11:30 p.m., the USGS had recorded 83 tremors all around the area of the original quake.

"In the past 100 years, 33 earthquakes of M5+ or larger have occurred within 100 km of the July 8 earthquake. The largest of these were a M6.1 earthquake 36 km to the northwest in September 1994 and a M6.1 earthquake 63 km to the north in June 1933," the USGS said on their website.

The magnitude 6.0 earthquake was the largest quake to hit the area since a magnitude 6.1 temblor in 1994. 

According to the USGS forecast, there is a 5% chance of one more aftershocks larger than a magnitude 6.0 over the next week. Officials said it is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes in days to come.

The USGS originally said a 4.8 magnitude earthquake hit in Northern California near Farmington in San Joaquin County, and an additional earthquake at 5.9 magnitude hit near Smith Valley in Nevada. Both quakes happened near the same time, separated by about a minute. Both USGS pages now direct to the 5.9 earthquake along the California-Nevada border. According to Austin Elliot, USGS Research Geologist, the earthquake originally came in as multiple earthquakes because it hit different scales at different times  

Dr. Lucy Jones, seismologist, said on Twitter that automatic systems that locate earthquakes sometimes get "confused." She explained that the webpages for those quakes are updated when those mistakes are corrected.

"If you look now, you will see there is no earthquake near Stockton, only the M5.9 south of Lake Tahoe," she said on Twitter.

She said the earthquake was a "classic normal faulting earthquake for eastern California." She said it is common in the region to have a lot of aftershocks in the first hour.

Authorities say cars were struck by rocks falling onto a California interstate, and Reno's City Hall was evacuated as a precaution. Caltrans said they are responding to reports of rockslides on U.S. 395 and S.R. 89 in Northern Mono County following the earthquake.

Many on social media in Sacramento and as far as Modesto have reported feeling the earthquake. People from Lake Tahoe to Fresno also reported feeling the shaking Thursday afternoon. The National Weather Service Sacramento said they felt the earthquake at their office, which lasted possibly a minute in length.

Jones said on Twitter that a magnitude 6 earthquake is usually felt for more than 100 miles, so there was little surprise that it was felt in the Central Valley.

The Mono County Sheriff's Office said the earthquake caused a rockslide on 395 at Chris Flat in Walker Canyon. Brett Durrant, a Twitter user, shared video of "boulders everywhere" after the earthquake on I-395.

A map of where the earthquake was likely felt can be found HERE


WATCH MORE:  Earthquakes come without warning and if you aren’t prepared by the time the big one hits, you will be too late. The 2019 earthquake near Ridgecrest, California shined a spotlight on the need to be prepared with a disaster kit and a plan. A little work now could help you survive the next quake.