What About Those Nevada Quakes?

In the last 90 or so days, the Reno, Nevada area has seen a great number of earthquakes. There has been speculation about the cause, but nothing official. Here’s a chart of the activity:

Ken Smith, seismologist at the University of Nevada Reno, responded to a question from Robert Somerville, Geophysicist in Canadian oil industry in Calgary Alberta.

Bob’s question: “I was wondering if the current swarm just north west of Reno is also magmatic in nature, as was the swarm at Slide Mountain ???

Ken answered:

We’ve seen no evidence to suggest that this is volcanically related.
It’s shallow in nature, the Slide Mtn. volcanic activity was in
the lower crust, and we’d expect to see volcanics migrating
from deeper in the crust. We’d not expect volcanics at such
shallow depths. This does not rule out a deeper deformation
event associated with aseismic volcanic movement, at possibly
lower crustal depths. The b-value is more consistent with
tectonic earthquakes and there is no observations of low frequency
earthquakes. Everything suggests a shallow tectonic sequence, so

Here’s the latest activity in Nevada:

MAP 1.7 2008/05/29 03:12:51 38.160 -118.192 8.0 14 km ( 9 mi) SW of Tonopah Junction, NV

MAP 2.1 2008/05/29 02:32:58 38.014 -118.195 0.5 29 km ( 18 mi) SSW of Tonopah Junction, NV

MAP 3.2 2008/05/29 02:30:36 38.013 -118.195 0.0 29 km ( 18 mi) SSW of Tonopah Junction, NV

MAP 1.0 2008/05/29 02:27:41 39.545 -119.915 0.0 5 km ( 3 mi) NE of Verdi-Mogul, NV

MAP 1.3 2008/05/29 01:47:59 39.518 -119.915 3.6 4 km ( 2 mi) E of Verdi-Mogul, NV


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