Magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes along California-Nevada border


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A preliminary magnitude 5.9 earthquake rocked the California-Nevada border on Thursday afternoon, with people saying they felt tremors hundreds of miles away, according to the US Geological Survey.

No immediate damage or serious injury was reported.

The earthquake struck at 3:49 p.m. in an area about 250 miles (402 kilometers) east of San Francisco and south of Lake Tahoe. Its epicenter was located 6.5 km west-southwest of Walker, a California city of less than 900 people. It was followed by a dozen aftershocks, including at least one with a magnitude of 4.6, the USGS said.

“The ground was shaking pretty hard, and then everything started to fall,” said Carolina Estrada, manager of the Walker Coffee Company. Syrup bottles broke, dishes fell to the floor, and the roof of the store collapsed a bit.

The shaking lasted for 30 seconds or more, she said.

“We ran out of the building,” Estrada said. But the tremors continued and “rocks the size of cars” fell on nearby US 395, she said.

Cars were hit with stones, but no one was injured, the California Highway Patrol reported.

At one point, landslides closed about 64 km of the highway, a major route through northern Sierra Nevada, authorities said. Parts of the freeway were then reopened, but crews remained at the scene in the event of aftershocks, according to the California Department of Transportation.

In Nevada, Reno’s town hall has been evacuated, Mayor Hillary Schieve told the Reno Gazette Journal.

“It rocked out pretty well,” said Schieve.

Regionally, “this would be the largest in almost two and a half decades,” said Graham Kent, director of the University of Nevada, Reno’s seismological laboratory.

Communities all around Lake Tahoe and as far south as Fresno, California, felt the quake, which was 6 miles (9.8 km) deep.

The quake was “a classic normal fault earthquake for eastern California,” and aftershocks were common in the area, seismologist Lucy Jones tweeted.

More than 30 aftershocks were reported in the first two hours, including at least five of magnitude 4.0 or greater, the USGS reported.

“Locals should expect aftershocks for days after an earthquake of this magnitude,” said Jason Ballman of the University of Southern California’s Southern California Earthquake Center. “We’ve seen a pretty vigorous aftershock streak already.”

Ballman warned that damage or injury reports might not be available for days, as much of the shaking was felt in remote areas.

Preliminary reports had indicated two earthquakes hitting 25 seconds but 100 miles apart. But the US Geological Survey revised the tremors and withdrew the report of a 4.8 magnitude earthquake in Farmington, about five miles southeast of Stockton, the Sacramento Bee said.

“While there are no preliminary reports of damage or injuries, this is a rapidly evolving situation and more details will emerge in the coming hours.” The California Emergency Services Office tweeted. “We are working closely with local authorities to ensure they have the resources and support they need to respond quickly to these earthquakes. “

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