Small quake wakes residents

Boulder City was shaken with a noticeable earthquake Monday morning. The 2.8-magnitude quake, which occurred at 5:38 a.m., was large enough to wake many residents.

“It shook the whole house,” Avenue M resident Pat Schneider said. “Both of my dogs were standing at the end of my bed, staring at me, like, ‘What’s going on?’ ”

Although Schneider said he immediately knew it was an earthquake, others did not.

Scott Best said he felt the quake while asleep on Foothill Drive, but just thought it was his upstairs neighbor being noisy.

“It crossed my mind (that it was an earthquake), but then I thought ‘nah,’ ” Best said.

A magnitude 2.8 earthquake is not too serious.

A photo posted to the Boulder Dam Brewing Co. Facebook page Monday poked fun at the quake, with a photo of a plastic chair turned on its side. The photo caption read, “Never forget 12/30/13, Boulder City, NV.”

Some residents, however, reported the quake sounded like an explosion.

Ken Smith, seismic network manager at the Nevada Seismological Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, said that the initial wave, called a P-wave, often produces a booming noise. The laboratory studies the state’s earthquake activity.

“It’s not unusual for people to hear them before they feel them,” he said.

Smith said the quake may have seemed bigger because Boulder City sits on top of a pretty thick amount of sediment.

“Geology affects how it feels,” he said.

According to the seismological laboratory, Nevada has thousands of earthquakes too small to feel each year. A quake strong enough to do damage to a populated area happens every three years on average.

“People should always be aware of that,” Smith said.

Seismologists have found active fault lines in every part of Nevada and at the base of nearly every mountain range, but it is more likely that major earthquakes will occur in the northern parts of the state.

According to U.S. Geological Survey records, the largest quake in Nevada happened in 1915, when a magnitude 7.1 earthquake struck Pleasant Valley, north of Carson City.

Two recent major Nevada earthquakes occurred in 2008. A magnitude 6 quake shook the area around Wells, west of Elko, on Feb. 21. A magnitude 4.7 quake hit just west of Reno on April 26.