More Than 5,000 Earthquakes Have Hit Northwest Nevada Since Swarm Started In July 2014

Seismologists studying a year-long swarm of thousands of mostly minor earthquakes in northwest Nevada say they could be the precursor for a “big one,” although speculation that they’re related to a series of extinct volcanoes can’t be ruled out. The University of Nevada’s Reno Nevada Seismological Laboratory announced Tuesday that there have been 5,610 earthquakes in a swarm that started in July 2014 in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge near the Oregon border. More than 200 have registered at a magnitude of 3 or greater, which is enough to be felt by ranchers and residents nearby. The largest one hit on Nov. 6 with a magnitude of 4.7, although there’s also been a recent flare-up since mid-July. “It’s kind of usual that it has lasted so long,” said Ken Smith, a seismologist. It’s been a topic of discussion whether or not those quakes stem from the extinct volcanos in the Sheldon refuge collectively known as the High Rock Caldera, which is at least 15 million years old.

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