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Nevada quakes common, and big one possible in Las Vegas |

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Nevada quakes common, and big one possible in Las Vegas

Nevada is no stranger to earthquakes.

The larger temblors historically have happened in the western part of the state, but the largest three — all over magnitude 7 — were in Central Nevada in the early decades of the 20th century.

But in 2008, a 6.0 magnitude quake shook the tiny town of Wells in northeastern Nevada.

UNLV geology professor Dr. Wanda Taylor
says an earthquake in the valley would look something like that due to a number
of factors. And the magnitude of a temblor here could be somewhat more intense.           

“Some of the faults right in Las Vegas
could have a 6.4 6.5, maybe 6.7,” Taylor said.

While Las Vegas has big buildings and
major infrastructure that Wells does not, projects have had to take seismic
activity into account.

Standards became more stringent in the
past quarter century, when many of our tallest buildings were constructed.

“Our building code changed around 1996
to increase the seismic resistance of our buildings,” Taylor said.

Though no city will ever be earthquake proof, Deputy Chief Jeff Buchanan of the Clark County Fire Department says first responders are ready to tackle whatever an earthquake throws at them.

“I can tell you this much, this community is prepared,” Buchanan said.

“Sometimes there are fires, sometimes
there could be high-angle rescues, sometimes there could be people trapped in
confined spaces, so all the fire departments here in the valley have a wide
range of abilities and they train all the time.”

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