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Weekend quake reveals new southern Nevada fault line | News

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Weekend quake reveals new southern Nevada fault line

LAS VEGAS -- Sunday's minor earthquake may have revealed a brand new fault line never before recognized in Nevada.

The 3.6-magnitude quake hit southern Nevada just after 3 a.m. Sunday. The quake's epicenter was about 22 miles south of downtown Las Vegas, just outside Sloan.

Many people have no idea there are fault lines all over the Las Vegas valley. There are seven major fault lines running throughout the valley, but this latest quake surprised area scientists.

They didn't know there could be a fault in that area and teams could soon be sent out to study its impact on the valley.

"I thought I was dreaming. I thought I was dreaming,” Tammy Vaughn from Henderson said. “I didn't get up or anything, but I felt something and I was like, ‘oh my gosh!'”

Just hours after the earthquake, people were still reeling but for scientists like geosciences professor Wanda Taylor, this earthquake is now an opportunity. Taylor is a geosciences researcher at UNLV.

She said they never realized there may be a fault line outside Sloan.

"This magnitude 3.6 is very useful to us because now it allows us the opportunity to go out and look at the location, study the location if in fact there was an active fault," Taylor said.

UNLV may soon send teams of scientists out to the quake's epicenter, looking for a break or change in the landscape. If there is indeed a new fault line, that could reveal the potential for more earthquakes in the future.

"Any young fault that can have earthquakes on it are important for us to study so we can make a better model of the potential seismic hazards for the valley," Taylor said.

While this quake was relatively minor compared to ones across the country, some were still a little jolted.

"It brought back some fear from those Southern California earthquakes," Henry Sawicki said.

There were no major aftershocks.

“I hope it doesn't happen, but, you never know," Vaughn said.

People were most likely to feel the quakes in parts of Henderson, Summerlin and downtown Las Vegas.

For more information on being prepared, go to redcross.org.