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6.0-magnitude earthquake shakes Nevada

A strong earthquake rattled northeast Nevada early Thursday, causing at least one building to collapse and forcing the evacuation of a truck stop, authorities said.
/ Source: NBC News and news services

A strong earthquake shook rural northeastern Nevada Thursday, damaging a town's historic district but sparing residents from any serious injuries.

The magnitude of the quake, initially estimated at 6.3, was later revised to 6.0 by the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

The quake, which struck at 6:16 a.m., was centered in a sparsely populated area 11 miles southeast of Wells near the Nevada-Utah line. Wells is about 350 miles east of Reno on Interstate 80.

"It was pretty bad," said Jane Kelso, who answered the phone at the Motel 6. "Everything in our whole building shook. "We have cracks in our walls."

The temblor was felt across eastern Nevada, Utah and as far away as Southern California. In Twin Falls, Idaho, residents reported severe shaking and items falling off shelves.

"Definitely a lot of people felt this, and if they were sleeping, they were awoken," said USGS geophysicist Carrieann Bedwell.

Aftershocks were felt throughout the day, the largest measured at 4.6.

Facades crumble; water, propane leaks
The most serious damage was reported in Wells' largely unoccupied historic district, Elko County Undersheriff Rocky Gonzalez said.

Brick facades tumbled off several buildings, signs fell and windows broke, and some vehicles parked on the street were damaged by falling debris, KELK Radio in Elko reported.

Dan Burns, spokesman with the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, said transportation and safety personnel were inspecting roads, bridges and dams in the area for structural damage.

Burns said at least two buildings in the historic area had partially collapsed, and two main water lines had ruptured. Gonzalez said a Flying J truck stop was evacuated because of a propane leak, he said.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries, but one woman was reportedly hurt when a cigarette rack fell on her.

Union Pacific Rail Road suspended traffic so its tracks could be inspected. Service later resumed, a spokeswoman said.

In Wendover, Utah, on the Nevada-Utah line, Tammy Wadsworth was ironing clothes when the quake hit.

"I kept thinking, 'When is it going to quit?' A couple pictures fell off the walls," she said. "One of my grandkids ran outside. They didn't know what else to do. It scared them."

Casino roof collapse
Mike Nanini of Four Way Casino in Wells told NBC News that a small part of his roof collapsed and that his casino was a mess. He said the quake lasted for almost two minutes and about eight slot machines were on the floor.

A person who answered the phone at Wells Elementary School told The Associated Press that there were cracks in walls and items were displaced.

Tony Lowry, an assistant professor of geophysics at Utah State University, said the size of the quake and its location was unusual.

"In that part of Nevada, I don't think we've seen any like that in the last 150 years or so," Lowry said. "It's not one of the places we would've looked or expected."