Residents of Wells Nevada rattled by force of earthquake
Shaken awake by a 6.0 magnitude earthquake this morning, the residents of Wells Nevada are now trying to clean up the mess, and assess the damge the quake did to their town.
The earthquake happened at around 6:16am PST, and residents say they have felt numerous aftershocks since. Kristie Smith has two young children and told NowPublic that when she felt the bed shaking, she got out of bed and ran, "but it took me a while to get to my kids, because of all the shaking."
There have been no reports of serious injuries, "but some older historical buildings in the town have major structural damage," says Ms. Smith, "and my house is a complete mess. My kitchen floor is covered in glass and none of my pictures are left on the walls."
Elderly resident John Smith says the first quake was very strong and woke him up also. "Both TVs fell over," he says, "and the whole house is a mess."
Sargent Kevin Mckinney, who is in charge setting up the evacuation centres, lives in the nearby town of Elko, and says he felt the shocks himself this morning.
"The first one lasted about 30 to 45 seconds," he says, "but I used to live in Olympia Washington, so I knew what was happening right away."
Mr. McKinney stresses that his main concern right now is making sure the residents of Wells are all safe, and evacuating the heavily damaged areas.
"We have shut off heat and gas to most of the town right now," says Mr. McKinney, "as there is heavy structural damage to between 20 and 25 buildings."
There has also been a water main that has broken and is gushing out water at 20,000 gallons a minute. "However, that should soon be under control," says Mr. McKinney.
He says it is just lucky that no serious injuries have
been reported yet, aside from someone with a broken arm, someone else
with heavy lacerations to their body, and a third report of someone
having trouble breathing.
"We're just really lucky that there's nothing significant so far in relation to injuries," says Mr. McKinney, and as Mr. Smith says, "It could have been much worse I suppose."
The earthquake was centered 11 miles southeast of Wells Nevada, which is a town of about 1,300 people. It is 382 miles (614 km) north of Las Vegas, and 150 miles (244 km) west of Salt Lake City.
Bruce Presgrave, a geophysicist with the United States Geological Survey, says that despite the damage in Wells, "if you're going to have an earthquake, this is a good place to get one." The aftershocks have been getting fewer and further between and the area itself is sparsley populated.
"It's interesting," says Mr. Pesgrave, "because there is no historic record for any earthquakes in this area at all. The last quake even reported near this area was in 1975 and that was quite a few miles away."