6.5-magnitude earthquake hits Nevada

Las Vegas: An earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale struck Nevada, the largest to hit the US state since 1954 which was also felt in California and Utah, authorities said.

According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the earthquake struck on Friday with the epicenter at a depth of 7.6 km, was 56 km west of the town of Tonopah, reports Xinhua news agency.

First recorded as 6.4, the USGS later raised it to a 6.5 earthquake, which has had numerous aftershocks including at least one above magnitude 5.0.

“As the third most seismic state in the nation, we kind of had a streak of not having big earthquakes for 66 years,” Graham Kent, director of the Nevada Seismological Laboratory, was quoted as saying by CNN.

“This area is an active seismic region,” noted the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno in a statement.

“About two dozen earthquakes in the magnitude 5 range have occurred within 65 miles (about 104 km) of this event over the past 50 years, mostly to the west and south,” the statement added.

Within the first hour following the earthquake, more than 8,000 people reported feeling it.

There were no reports of fatalities yet.

The USGS warned that the area will continue to experience more earthquakes than usual.

“When there are more earthquakes, the chance of a large earthquake is greater which means that the chance of damage is greater,” said the USGS in an aftershock forecast.

The agency advised local residents to be aware of the possibility of aftershocks, especially when in or around vulnerable structures.

According to the forecast, over the next week there is a 4 per cent chance of one or more aftershocks that are larger than magnitude 6.5. It is likely that there will be smaller earthquakes over the next week.

Nevada Department of Transportation said that Highway 95 between the oute 6 junction and Highway 360 will remain closed hours more for earthquake related inspections and repairs.

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