6.0-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Nevada

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake hit northeast Nevada on Thursday, causing at least one building to crumble, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.The quake was reported about 6:16 a.m. local time near Elko, about 430 miles north of Las Vegas, according to wire reports. It was originally estimated at 6.3, but downsized later to 6.0.

“Definitely a lot of people felt this, and if they were sleeping, they were awoken,” said USGS geophysicist Carrieann Bedwell.

Elko County Undersheriff Rocky Gonzalez said there were reports of some damage to buildings. At least one building collapsed, he said, and a Flying J truck stop was evacuated because of a propane leak.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries, but a manager at a truck stop said the store was a wreck, with groceries and goods scattered. One woman was reportedly hurt when a cigarette rack fell on her.

“It was pretty bad,” said Jane Kelso, who answered the phone at a Motel 6 in Elko. “Everything in our whole building shook. “We have cracks in our walls.”

The earthquake had an epicenter of only 3.7 miles and struck in a sparsely populated area 11 miles southeast of Wells near the Nevada-Utah line.

It was felt across eastern Nevada, Utah and as far away as Southern California. There were reports of buildings swaying in downtown Salt Lake City, which is about 230 miles from Elko.

In Wendover, Utah, on the Nevada-Utah line, Tammy Wadsworth was ironing clothes when the quake hit.

“I kept thinking, ‘When is it going to quit?’ A couple pictures fell off the walls,” she said. “One of my grandkids ran outside. They didn’t know what else to do.