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July 25, 2014

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Nevadans ready for rumble with annual earthquake drill

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Mona Shield Payne

Graduate assistant Rinu Samuel explains how seismic activity is captured via geophones measuring the vibrations of the lab floor and digitally displayed during the Great Nevada ShakeOut earthquake drill held in the Applied Geophysics Center at UNLV at 10:17 a.m. Thursday morning in Las Vegas, October 17, 2013.

Preparing for Nevada Earthquakes

Jasmine Badizadeh and Abner Mivakhorli, right, cover their heads while seeking shelter under a desk during the Great Nevada ShakeOut earthquake drill held in the Applied Geophysics Center at UNLV at 10:17 a.m. Thursday morning in Las Vegas, October 17, 2013. Launch slideshow »

It’s nearly time to take cover, Nevada.

More than a half million Nevadans are expected to drop, cover and hold on Thursday during the Great Nevada ShakeOut, the annual earthquake drill in the Silver State.

Organizers at UNR’s Nevada Seismological Laboratory say the event is an opportunity to practice earthquake safety and prepare for the possibility of a major earthquake. It is also an opportunity to review and update emergency preparedness plans and supplies.

“In our seismically active state, it’s important to be ready for an earthquake,” said Graham Kent, geophysicist and director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory in UNR’s College of Science.

Participants are asked at 10:17 a.m. Thursday (10:17 on 10/17), wherever they are – unless they are driving – to drop, cover, and hold on as if there were a major earthquake occurring, and to stay there for at least 60 seconds.

“The theme for this year's Great Nevada ShakeOut is making a family plan,” Kent said. “Households around Nevada are encouraged to find a neutral location other than their home or local neighborhood to meet after an earthquake or other natural catastrophe in the event that family members are separated and are unable to re-enter their neighborhood.”

Nevada lies within one of the most seismically active regions in the United States. Along with California and Alaska, Nevada ranks in the top three states subject to the largest earthquakes throughout the last 150 years.

According to Earthquake Track, 673 earthquakes have hit Nevada in the past year, with the largest a 4.2-magnitude quake on Aug. 27 near Sun Valley, northeast of Reno.

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