Officials Cast Doubt on Report of Nevada Earthquake

August 18, 2009

A Nevada earthquake monitoring station reported a moderate jolt early Sunday, but the U.S. Geological Survey and a Utah station say they have no record of such a temblor.

A report by the Nevada Seismological Laboratory said a magnitude-4.2 quake struck early Sunday about a dozen miles east-southeast of Rock House, near the Idaho line.

Richard Buckmaster, a USGS geophysicist stationed in Golden, Colo., told The Associated Press that his agency had no record of any quake approaching 4 magnitude in Nevada, and none around Rock House.

Calls to the Nevada Seismological Laboratory went unanswered Sunday but the lab’s Web site carried no reports of such a quake.

Jim Pechmann, a seismograph for the University of Utah, also was unable to verify the report.

“We would certainly have picked that up,” Pechmann said.

It wasn’t clear how the original report was generated. Buckmaster and Pechmann said earthquake networks automatically issue alerts that can prove false when a seismologist examines recordings.

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