4.2 magnitude earthquake reported near Pioche, Nevada; seismic activity felt in Southern Utah

Stock image | Photo by Petrovich/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The U.S. Geological Survey reported an earthquake Sunday in Lincoln County, Nevada, not far from the Utah state line.

Map shows the region hit by a 4.2 magnitude earthquake in Nevada, June 29, 2019 | Image courtesy of the University of Utah’s Seismograph Station, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

The incident took place around 5:45 p.m. MDT. According to the USGS, the 4.2 magnitude temblor felt its center about 19 kilometers southeast of the unincorporated community of Pioche, Nevada. That’s about 62 miles from St. George.

The bulk of the tremors could be felt in the immediate vicinity of the Pioche area, according to the USGS, although several citizens self-reported feeling the earthquake on the Utah side of the border.

Reports coming out of Utah — mostly out of Veyo, Santa Clara and St. George – are consistent with the Geological Survey’s estimated intensity map which concluded tremors were likely felt in portions of western Washington and Iron counties.

According to initial estimates, Sunday’s earthquake is thought to have occurred at a depth of 3.1 kilometers. Though Sunday’s earthquake near Pioche was a 4.2 on the Richter scale, damage from the earthquake was considered a remote possibility with fatalities as a result considered unlikely.

Nearly 1 million Utahns participated in the Great Utah Shakout in April of this year to prepare for the possibility of major earthquake activity.

More than 15 earthquakes greater than magnitude 5.5 have occurred in Utah since the Mormon pioneers settled the area in 1847.

While Utah is not a boundary between major tectonic plates where major earthquakes occur, seismic events in the state are indirectly caused by interactions with the Pacific plate along the west coast. Smaller earthquakes in the east-central part of the state are regularly caused by underground coal mining.

Large, damaging earthquakes in Utah are most likely to occur in a belt that extends north-south through the center of the state, essentially following Interstate 15 where there are many active faults capable of producing stronger earthquakes.

There is more than a 50 percent chance that a magnitude 6.0 or greater earthquake will occur in the Wasatch Front region in the next 50 years, according to a report released by the University of Utah’s Seismograph Station in November 2017.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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