Multiple earthquakes could be felt hundreds of miles away across northern California and parts of Nevada including Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon.
The US Geological Survey recorded a magnitude 6.0 earthquake, that was about six miles deep, about 3:50 p.m. local time that happened south of Topaz Lake and about 20 miles from Smith Valley, Nevada near the Nevada-California border.
Data from the USGS also shows several seismic waves happening minutes apart from each other moved across California after the 6.0 magnitude earthquake.
The California Office of Emergency Services said in a statement that there are no preliminary reports of damage or injuries.
‘This is a rapidly evolving situation & more details will emerge in the coming hours. We are working closely with local officials to ensure they have the resources and support to rapidly respond to these earthquakes,’ the agency tweeted.
Multiple earthquakes could be felt across northern California including parts of the Bay Area and Sacramento and parts of Nevada on Thursday afternoon
Just minutes later, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake was reportedly recorded near Farmington in San Joaquin County – though that earthquake appears to have since been removed from the USGS website
Videos posted to Twitter show cars attempting to move around boulders after a rockslide near the Nevada-California border
Videos posted online show people trying to move giant boulders that fell during rock slides caused by the earthquake, as well as backed up traffic along U.S. 395
The earthquake, reportedly the largest one recorded since a magnitude 6.1 earthquake hit the region in 1994, was felt across parts of California that are hundreds of miles apart – from San Francisco and the Bay Area to Lake Tahoe and even Sacramento and Fresno.
Mono County Sheriff Ingrid Braun told the San Francisco Chronicle that she was in her office in Bridgeport when the building started shaking – and that it reminded her of the 1994 Northridge Earthquake.
‘It just kept rolling and you could see the door frame swaying back and forth,’ she said.
Preliminary reports from the USGS showed that, just minutes after the initial earthquake, a magnitude 4.8 earthquake was recorded a bout 100 miles away near Farmington in San Joaquin County.
However, that earthquake has since been removed from the USGS website after the agency reviewed measurements of shaking.
Austin Elliott, a USGS geologist, said the ‘uncertainty was caused by the remote location,’ ABC News reported.
‘The system underestimated the original magnitude of that event and estimated a location that was slightly off from the true location,’ he said.
In Nevada, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office and its dispatch center told CarsonNow.org that the agency reported feeling the earthquakes.
The outlet noted that there have also been no reports of damage or injuries in the Carson City area.
However, Caltrans – the California Department of Transportation – reportedly detoured traffic while maintenance crews work to remove fallen rocks on U.S. 395, CarsonNow.org reported.
A video posted to Instagram appears to show dust in the air caused by the earthquake
A photo posted to Instagram appears to show dust in the air caused by the earthquake
A photo posted to Instagram shows rock slides in the background, according to the caption
Mayor Hillary Schieve told the Reno Gazette Journal that the Reno City Hall in Nevada was evacuated because of the earthquake.
‘It shook pretty good,’ Schieve said.
The Mono County Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook that the earthquake caused a rockslide on U.S. 395 ‘at Chris Flat in Walker Canyon.’
‘No other reports of significant damage yet. It was felt throughout Mono County and beyond. And no, we don’t know why it was labeled as 23 miles from Smith Valley,’ the sheriff’s office posted.
Carolina Estrada, manager at the Walker Coffee Company in Mono County, told ABC News that ‘the ground was shaking pretty bad, and then everything started falling.’
She said syrup bottles broke and dishes fell to the ground – and the roof of the shop even slightly caved in.
‘We ran out of the building,’ Estrada said.
The National Weather Service in Sacramento said on Twitter that the earthquake was felt at its office and that it lasted about for about a minute causing blinds and light fixtures to move.
Dr. Lucy Jones, a seismologist, tweeted that the magnitude 6.0 earthquake felt this afternoon ‘is a classic normal faulting earthquake for eastern California.’
‘As is common in this region, there are a lot of aftershocks – 10 above M3 in the first hour,’ she tweeted.
She added that a magnitude 6 earthquake is usually felt for more than 100 miles ‘so it is not surprising it was felt in the Central Valley’ of California.
Jason Ballman with the Southern California Earthquake Center at the University of Southern California, told ABC News that people in the area should expect aftershocks ‘for days following an earthquake of this size.’
Seismologists said that they expect more aftershocks to continue over the next week and that there is even a 6% chance that an aftershock could register with a magnitude larger than 6.0, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
People joked about their experiences feeling the earthquake on Twitter
Hundreds of people also took to Twitter to describe their experiences during the earthquakes.
‘That was the scariest earthquake I’ve ever experienced!,’ @GlennCocoooo tweeted.
Twitter user @Theyloveeash wrote: ‘Why I was in the grocery store durin the earthquake n then all of a sudden I hear this loud ass alarm. I was like yea lemme take my black a** home.’
‘I didn’t feel an earthquake, the earthquake felt me,’ Twitter user @LugarTimmy joked.
Meanwhile, Twitter user @alyssaaaguillen quipped: ‘Pretty sure the world is ending and honestly I believe this earthquake was a sign, I should text him.’
EARTHQUAKES ARE CAUSED WHEN TWO TECTONIC PLATES SLIDE IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS
Catastrophic earthquakes are caused when two tectonic plates that are sliding in opposite directions stick and then slip suddenly.
Tectonic plates are composed of Earth’s crust and the uppermost portion of the mantle.
Below is the asthenosphere: the warm, viscous conveyor belt of rock on which tectonic plates ride.
They do not all not move in the same direction and often clash. This builds up a huge amount of pressure between the two plates.
Eventually, this pressure causes one plate to jolt either under or over the other.
This releases a huge amount of energy, creating tremors and destruction to any property or infrastructure nearby.
Severe earthquakes normally occur over fault lines where tectonic plates meet, but minor tremors – which still register on the Richter sale – can happen in the middle of these plates.
The Earth has fifteen tectonic plates (pictured) that together have molded the shape of the landscape we see around us today
These are called intraplate earthquakes.
These remain widely misunderstood but are believed to occur along minor faults on the plate itself or when ancient faults or rifts far below the surface reactivate.
These areas are relatively weak compared to the surrounding plate, and can easily slip and cause an earthquake.
Earthquakes are detected by tracking the size, or magnitude, and intensity of the shock waves they produce, known as seismic waves.
The magnitude of an earthquake differs from its intensity.
The magnitude of an earthquake refers to the measurement of energy released where the earthquake originated.
Earthquakes originate below the surface of the earth in a region called the hypocenter.
During an earthquake, one part of a seismograph remains stationary and one part moves with the earth’s surface.
The earthquake is then measured by the difference in the positions of the still and moving parts of the seismograph.