4.8-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Las Vegas, Spaghetti Bowl Ramps Closed

An earthquake of 4.8 magnitude struck north of Las Vegas at 11:47 a.m. Friday. The U.S. Geological Survey originally reported the earthquake near Las Vegas was a magnitude of 5.4, but the earthquake was later downgraded to a magnitude of 4.8. According to weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen, this is the strongest earthquake with an epicenter on land anywhere in the contiguous U.S. so far this year.

The earthquake was centered 24 miles southwest of Caliente and the strongest to hit Nevada since a magnitude-6.0 temblor hit the northeast area of the state on Feb. 21, 2008. Caliente is about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas. The U.S. Geological Survey reported four aftershocks with magnitudes 3.8, 3.0, 3.4, and 2.5 between 12:05 and 12:58 p.m.

According to Dr. Cindy Shroba from the College of Southern Nevada, the earthquake was shallow, which means it occurred less than seven miles below the earth’s surface, and it happened on a strike slip fault, a common type of fault line.

“Well, it turns out that the earthquake was shallow. The shallower an earthquake is, the more energy gets dissipated on the earth’s surface. And so if it were a deeper earthquake, we wouldn’t feel it as much on the surface, we’d still detect it, but we wouldn’t feel it.”

Hundreds of residents and tourists in the area reported feeling the earthquake on the U.S. Geological Survey website including those in Henderson, North Las Vegas, and Boulder City. There were also reports from people as far away as Utah, Arizona, and California.

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The earthquake caused ramps in Las Vegas’ Spaghetti Bowl interchange to close on Friday due to a gap in the 95 ramp to I-15 southbound. Mary Martini, District I engineer for the Nevada Department of Transportation, said the gap was there before the earthquake, but protective casing had been shaken loose. The ramps reopened shortly after 4 p.m., and Martini stated they are “structurally sound and safe for travel” and will be open through Memorial Day.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, there was speculation last year in November that due to large swarms of Nevada earthquakes being recorded underground, an even larger earthquake could be on its way. State seismologists, however, say that isn’t necessarily the case but that it’s good to be prepared in the event of an earthquake.

According to officials, no injuries or other significant damage was reported in the Las Vegas area earthquake.

[Image via ABC 7]