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December 25, 2014

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2.9-magnitude earthquake reported near Boulder City

Updated Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 | 12:47 p.m.

Earthquake

The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 2.9-magnitude earthquake at 5:38 a.m. today near Boulder City.

The quake was centered about 4.3 miles southeast of Boulder City and about 14 miles southeast of Henderson.

There were no injuries or damage reported, Boulder City Police Chief Bill Conger said.

The quake was first reported as a magnitude 2.8 but was later upgraded.

Kristin Stevens of Boulder City said she was at the Anytime Fitness gym on Buchanan Boulevard when the earthquake hit.

“It was sudden,” she said. “Everything rumbled and started shaking...Nothing crazy. Nothing was falling or anything like that.”

She said everyone at the gym felt the rumbling and that Facebook started “blowing up” with people asking if their friends felt the quake.

Stevens, who grew up in Boulder City, said it’s not the first time she’s felt an earthquake there. She recalled a quake in the late 1980s that rattled her parents’ house so hard that her father ordered everyone out.

Ken Smith, associate director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, said earthquakes are common near Boulder City, but many are so small they go unnoticed.

“It’s not an unusual place to see earthquakes,” Smith said. “Unfortunately, we don’t have a good enough network of sensors down there to see the smaller activity.”

Although the 2.9-magnitude quake was felt throughout Boulder City, Smith said, he hadn’t received any reports that it was felt in Las Vegas.

There have been no aftershocks observed, Smith said.

“It’s always a possibility, yet just as unlikely, that this event may be a foreshock to a larger event that may occur near the same location, and citizens in Las Vegas region area should be aware of the possibility for ground shaking from additional earthquakes,” Smith said. “Due to our unique geologic environment, significant earthquakes can occur anywhere and at any time in Nevada.”

Fault lines run throughout the area, including under Lake Mead, Smith said, but it’s unclear whether today’s earthquake was centered over a particular fault.

“We’re impacted by the whole California plate boundary system,” Smith said. “It’s really driven by the tectonic process along the plate boundary.”

Nevada is the third most seismically active state in the country — behind California and Alaska — but most of the activity is concentrated in two regions: along the state’s western edge near the Sierra Mountains in an area called Walker Lane and in the basins and ranges that occupy Central Nevada.

The largest recorded earthquake in Nevada was a magnitude 7.1 quake measured Oct. 2, 1915, and centered in a largely uninhabited area in the north-central part of the state. The quake damaged several towns, including Winnemucca, Battle Mountain and Lovelock.

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