A magnitude 5.9 earthquake shook the California-Nevada border Thursday afternoon, with people reporting feeling a jolt hundreds of miles away, as far as the Bay Area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The earthquake, reported just south of Lake Tahoe, triggered a series of aftershocks with at least one with a 4.6 magnitude, the USGS said.
Regionally, “this would be the largest one in almost two and a half decades,” according to Graham Kent, director of the University of Nevada, Reno’s seismological lab. “It’s 5.9 and some change — to the average person, it’s a magnitude 6.0.”
Though originally reported as at least two separate earthquakes, the false report came from an automatic systems error, said Seismologist Dr. Lucy Jones on Twitter. The USGS revised the report, removing one reported quake a few miles south of Stockton in central California.
“A M~6 quake is usually felt for more than 100 miles so it is not surprising it was felt in the Central Valley,” Jones said.
The shaking was felt in at least two states, with more than 20,000 reports coming into the USGS website by 6 p.m. local time.
North of the reported epicenter in Reno, City Hall was evacuated after the earthquake, said Mayor Hillary Schieve.
Is ‘The Big One’ coming? A California fault capable of an 8.0 earthquake is moving for the first time, study says
Sally Rosen, who owns a popular burger restaurant in Walker, near the epicenter, told the Associated Press her 2-year-old was napping in her arms in her home behind the restaurant when the earthquake hit.
“We felt the shaking of the building, and we didn’t know quite what it was at first,” she told KGO-TV in San Francisco. “It kept going, and it was pretty intense and scary, frankly. So we ran out of the house as fast as we could and ran to the restaurant because the first thought was, ‘Oh my goodness, we need to shut off the gas.’”
Cups and other items flew off the shelves, and oil splattered from the fryers, she said.
On Twitter, people posted videos of the aftermath on U.S. 395 through Lake Tahoe. The route was closed temporarily because of rock slides. A California Highway Patrol spokesperson told the Stockton Record, part of the USA TODAY Network, that some cars were hit by rocks, but no one was injured.
The National Weather Service offices in Sacramento felt the earthquake for at least a minute, they posted on Twitter. “Blinds moving. Light building motion/shaking movement.”
Other Twitter users reported water in their pools or fountains and windows shaking.
“While there are no preliminary reports of damage or injuries, this is a rapidly evolving situation & more details will emerge in the coming hours.” California’s Office of Emergency Services said on Twitter. “We are working closely with local officials to ensure they have the resources and support to rapidly respond to these earthquakes.”
The earthquake Thursday afternoon pales in comparison to the 7.1 earthquake that occurred in Southern California in 2019. That earthquake, shaking Ridgecrest, was 15 times bigger and 63 times stronger than this one, according to the USGS.
Contributing: Amy Alonzo, Reno-Gazette Journal; The Associated Press.