300+ Tremors Recorded in Earthquake Swarm - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

300+ Tremors Recorded in Earthquake Swarm

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From a rooftop on the University of Nevada campus, seismologist Ken Smith oversees the lab that never sleeps… Nevada's earthquake monitoring headquarters. Standing by a rooftop dish, he told us, "This is seismic data, coming in at a high sample rate."

200 solar-powered monitoring stations are spread all over the state, where they transmit every little rumble to the dishes on the roof. From there, the data goes through a room full of computers to Ken's desktop, where he can see every tremor. He can see how big, how frequent, and where the most activity is. Pointing to a cluster of yellow dots, he told us, "These are the locations of the events in Dog Valley."

Recently there have been a lot of events and a lot of shaking. In just the past 11 days, a swarm of more than 300 earthquakes, so centralized the yellow dots all blend together. They are just south of Bordertown near the state line. So far, they're too small to feel. Smith says "As far as I know, no one's reported feeling any of the earthquakes out at Bordertown."

But they are there, and are still going on. Since yesterday, more than 20 quakes. Activity like this brings the lab to life. But this earthquake swarm is not that unusual. Smith compares it to 2008, "When we had the Mogul sequence west of Reno. That included several thousand earthquakes." As for whether the swarm can tell you a bigger event is coming, Smith says "No, can't tell. It could be over. This could be it today."

The science is improving. There's even an earthquake early warning system in California that can give 30 seconds notice before a quake. With early warning, NV Energy would have time to shut down. Trains could slow so they don't derail. Workers would have a chance to get away from hazardous materials. This is a system Japan has had since 2007. Smith would like to see it here too, saying "We're integrated with their systems in California through internet and we'd like to bring that technology eventually to Nevada."

For now, he says the pointy lines and yellow dots of the current swarm are not unusual. He does say they are another reason to be prepared, just in case. We have some preparation ideas for you and your family on our website. To learn more about earthquake preparedness, just click here.

Written by John Potter

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