Historic Earthquakes

Pleasant Valley, Nevada
1915 10 03 06:52:48 UTC (local 10/02)
Magnitude 7.1

Pleasant View, Nevada

This earthquake occurred along a fault on the eastern side of Pleasant Valley, which lies about 64 kilometers southeast of Winnemucca, in the north-central part of Nevada. The epicentral region was almost uninhabited, and, therefore, property damage was less than might have been expected. Damage was confined mainly to an area within 80 kilometers of the fault in Humboldt, Lander, and Pershing Counties, including the towns of Battle Mountain, Kennedy, Lovelock, Winnemucca, and several ranches in Pleasant Valley. Four main scarps - the China Mountain, Tobin, Pearce, and Sou Hills - developed in a right-stepping en echelon pattern. The combined length of the scarps was 59 kilometers, the average vertical displacement 2 meters, and the maximum displacement (which occurred on the Pearce scarp) 5.8 meters. Several northwest-striking segments of the scarps had a right-lateral component of displacement, generally less than 1 meter.

At Kennedy, two adobe houses were destroyed, mine tunnels collapsed, and concrete mine foundations were cracked. At Winnemucca, adobe buildings generally were damaged, and several multistory brick buildings lost their coping and parts of upper walls; many chimneys were demolished above the rooflines. In addition, water tanks were thrown down at Battle Mountain, Kodiak, Lovelock, and Parran. Damage occurred on several ranches at the southern end of Pleasant Valley: and adobe house was shaken down; a masonry chicken house and a hog pen were destroyed; and houses were displaced from their foundations.

One of the most striking effects of this earthquake was the large increase (and decrease) in the flow of springs and streams throughout northern Nevada. Cracks formed in unconsolidated materials for considerable distances. Felt from the State of Oregon to southern California and from the Pacific coast to beyond Salt Lake City, Utah. Two foreshocks and many aftershocks occurred.

Abridged from Seismicity of the United States, 1568-1989 (Revised), by Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1527, United States Government Printing Office, Washington: 1993.