Shake, rattle and roll: Earthquake hits Alpine County |

Shake, rattle and roll: Earthquake hits Alpine County

An earthquake shook the Lake Tahoe Basin Tuesday morning at 12:20.

The quake which started about 2 miles Southeast of Topaz Lake, Nev., was recorded by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at a magnitude of 4.7.

The quake was felt in places such as Markleeville, Wellington and the Minden-Gardnerville area, but no injuries or damages were recorded, according to South Lake Tahoe Police Officer Chuck Owens.

There was a 3.0 foreshock just seconds before the main earthquake, and a 3.6 aftershock occurred at 12:35 a.m., according to Pat Jorgenson, U.S. Geological Survey Menlo Park spokeswoman

“The 4.7 reminds us that all along the Eastern Sierra there is a potential for earthquakes in this region,” said John Louie, associate professor of seismology at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The earthquake took place in a region known as the Double Spring Flat Seismic Zone, he said.

“It’s a fault below the ground that we can’t see at the surface,” he added.

“There is very little potential for danger,” Louie said. “It is very unusual for earthquakes of this magnitude to generate any damage.”

Most people who felt the earthquake at the Topaz Lodge and Casino in Topaz were not bothered by the quake.

“Most of them just kept playing,” said Wayne Kantley, bar supervisor. “Most of our customers are from California, and they are used to it.”

Elaine Klavon, support services coordinator for the Alpine County Sheriff’s Office in Markleeville, said she received a few calls Tuesday from concerned residents.

“I am getting some inquiries, but there’s not a whole lot of talk about it,” she said. “We don’t have anybody absolutely excited about it.”

Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Modispacher said the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office took a few calls, but there were no reports of damage.

The last quake felt in Lake Tahoe was in 1994 with a reading of 6.0. It was also centered the Double Spring Flat Seismic Zone which is considered a moderately active seismic zone that has produced three earthquakes in the last 10 years.

“I can’t tell when an earthquake is going to strike.” Louie said. “But within the next 50 years, there is a 50 percent chance we will see a magnitude 6.0.”

He said that this is an active seismic region and that beneath Lake Tahoe are two fault zones. Scientists believe these fault zones have the potential to cause a tsunami on Lake Tahoe that could be 3 to 10 meters high with waves continuing for hours.

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