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Strong Quake Rocks Calif., Nevada

May 18, 1993

INDEPENDENCE, Calif. (AP) _ A strong earthquake rolled across a wide area of California and Nevada on Monday, but it was centered in a sparsely populated area and there were no immediate reports of injuries or severe damage.

The quake measured 6.0 on the Richter scale and struck at 4:20 p.m., said Douglas Smith, spokesman for the California Institute of Technology. It was centered about 33 miles northeast of Independence.

The quake was felt from Las Vegas, 150 miles to the east of the epicenter, to Fresno, about 100 miles to the west, and to Los Angeles, 200 miles south.

″It shook the heck out of this place,″ said Bill Woodward, airport manager at Lone Pine Airport. He said sliding doors came off the rail, one picture fell off a wall, and hanging plants started swinging.

The quake shook Las Vegas casinos. At Binion’s Horseshoe Club, specialty room chef Larry Chamberlain said he ran to the kitchen area as the shaking progressed.

″The cooks were all hanging onto sinks and water was slopping from them. The pans that hang on the hooks overhead were all swinging,″ he said.

There were more than a dozen detectable aftershocks within the first 90 minutes after the quake, said Steve Bryant, a seismic analyst at Caltech. The largest of the aftershocks was a magnitude-4.0 at 4:41 p.m.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power crews began inspecting the city’s 338-mile aqueduct, reservoirs and power plants along the Eastern Sierra but there were no immediate reports of damage, said department spokeswoman Dorothy Jensen.

A dispatcher for the California Highway Patrol in Bishop said there was no apparent road damage.

Inyo County firefighter Don Kunze said he had one report of a propane leak in Bishop. ″It was just a roller, wasn’t real strong,″ Kunze said.

The quake was strongly felt in California’s Death Valley but didn’t damage Scotty’s Castle, a restored 1920s mansion that is a popular tourist attraction in Death Valley National Monument.

″It made our chandeliers swing but didn’t do any damage. The castle is so structurally sound that we don’t worry,″ said park Ranger Kate Neilsen.

The quake was the strongest in California since last June 28 when the magnitude-7.6 Landers quake and its 6.7 Big Bear aftershock rocked Southern California. Those quakes killed one person, injured 402 and caused nearly $100 million in damage.

Monday’s quake wasn’t an aftershock of the Landers and Big Bear quakes, Smith said. However, they are all related in that they all occurred in the 400-mile-long eastern California shear zone, an area of seismic activity that stretches from southeastern California to Reno, Nev.

The Richter scale is a measure of ground motion as recorded on seismographs. A magnitude 6 quake is capable of severe damage in the local area.


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