Historic Earthquakes

Excelsior Mountains, Nevada
1934 January 30 20:16 UTC
Magnitude 6.5

This strong earthquake was centered in an uninhabited area having few structures, and damage therefore was slight. At Mina (Mineral County), a few chimneys were broken and a small section of a brick wall fell. At Marietta, two walls of an adobe cabin collapsed; at Candelaria, a stone cabin was partly destroyed; and at the Silver Dike mine in the eastern part of the Excelsior Mountains, a rockslide destroyed a pipeline and a pumphouse. Fissures formed in alluvium; landslides occurred; and changes in the flow of springs were observed.

Fissures in alluvium, mainly related to slumping rather than to primary faulting, were found in three places: above Pepper Spring, south of Garfield Flat; on the northwest side of Teel's Marsh; and at the Endowment mine, about 5 km north of Marietta. The average trend of the fissures was N. 10° W., and the length about 30.5 m. One graben was 6 meters wide and, on its west side, was a slump hole about 0.6 meters deep. At the Endowment mine, two fissuresone 6 meters long and the second 30.5 meters longformed in the bed of the wash about 122 meters beyond the end of the fault. An earthquake scarp about 1.4 km long developed on one of the faults 5 km north of Marietta, on the southern side of the Excelsior Mountains. This scarp had a maximum height of 12.7 cm, and the fissures were as wide as 7.6 cm. It appears that this was the surface expression of the movement that caused the earthquake.

Several landslides occurred, and boulders rolled down slopes throughout the Excelsior Mountains. The shock also was felt throughout central Nevada and central California as far as the west coast.

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.