Earthquake Swarm Rocks Lake Tahoe Area

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (CBS SF & AP) — Nearly a dozen earthquakes — the largest a pair of 5.7 magnitude temblors — struck early Wednesday near Lake Tahoe, and their rumblings were felt across areas of two states. There were no immediate reports of problems.

The U.S. Geological Surveys says the temblors were centered in a remote area of Nevada near the California line, about 70 miles southeast of Lake Tahoe near Hawthorne, Nev.

The moderate quakes, which struck at 12:18 a.m. PST and then four minutes later, were followed by a series of smaller aftershocks. Since the initial temblor, there have been 61 aftershocks between Bridgeport, Calif. and Hawthorne. The distance between the two cities is approximately 237 miles, along US 95 North and Highway 80 West.

Michelle Peteron, who lives in Hawthorne, posted on Facebook that the quake swarm led to a sleepless night.

“A 5.8 AND a 5.7! Hawthorne’s not sleeping tonight!” she wrote.

Nevada resident Lynda Greer said the quakes rocked her home.

“I thought my Christmas Tree was going to fall over,” she posted on Facebook.

Melanie Wolff Miller said her bedroom was shaking.

“Yep – woke me up out of a dead sleep,” she wrote. “The entire bed was shaking.”

The Mineral County Sheriff’s Department in Hawthorne says staffers felt both quakes, but they have not had any reports of injury or damage. The office says the quakes apparently did trigger burglar alarms at two businesses, and caused a rock slide that did not block a nearby highway.

In addition to Lake Tahoe, the USGS says the quakes were felt in such areas as Carson City, Nevada, and Yosemite National Park and Mammoth Lakes in California, all roughly 60 miles from the epicenter.

According to the head of the University of Nevada’s Seismological Laboratory, the trio of significant earthquakes were big enough to cause as much as $1 billion damage if they’d been centered beneath a big city.

The magnitude 5.5 to 5.7 quakes that began shortly after midnight caused no significant damage where they were centered near rural Hawthorne.

But Graham Kent told The Associated Press they likely would have been a “$1 billion event” with fatalities and numerous injuries if it had hit in Reno about 90 miles to the north.

Wednesday’s biggest temblor was felt more than 200 miles away in San Francisco and Las Vegas. Kent said the quakes serve as a reminder that Nevadans live in the third-most seismically active state in the nation behind California and Alaska.

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