News LIVE: Nevada earthquake, aftershocks; road impacts; last updated 4:15 p.m.

NEWS LIVE: This report contains news live as it develops and is being  updated continuously. Bookmark and refresh the page periodically for updates.


  • 2:40 p.m. – NDOT statement on Nevada bridges added
  • 2:54 p.m. – Aftershock added to listing
  • 3:09 p.m. – People reflect – added
  • 3:30 p.m. – Latest estimate of magnitude by University of Nevada, Reno, added
  • 4 p.m. – Arizona Department of Public Safety – report from the Gorge
  • 4:15 p.m. – Additional closures made by NDOT
Shake map pinpoints the Caliente, Nevada, earthquake May 22, 2015 | Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, St. George News
Shake map pinpoints the Caliente, Nevada, earthquake May 22, 2015 | Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — An earthquake about 23 miles, south-southwest of Caliente, Nevada, and 63 miles west-southwest of St. George, was felt in Southern Utah Friday.

Although no immediate damage was reported in St. George, or in Mesquite or Caliente, Nevada, possible structural damage has been reported by Nevada Department of Transportation, resulting in U.S. 95 transition ramps to Interstate 15 southbound and northbound being closed, as well as the MLK on on-ramp to I-15 southbound. Motorists are advised to use alternate routes.

Shannon Miller, dispatcher for the Sheriff’s Office in Caliente, Nevada, said, “We have not had any reports of damage. Mostly everyone was just startled by it.”

Magnitude and aftershocks

Initial reports measured the primary earthquake at magnitude 5.4, but analysts later placed the main quake at magnitude 4.8, University of Utah Seismologist Katherine Whidden said at about 1:30 p.m. MDT. On the other hand, Mickey Cassar, seismologist with the Seismological Laboratory, University of Nevada in Reno said the latest estimate, at about 3:15 p.m. MDT, they are making is 5.28 magnitude.

The main quake occurred at 11:47 PDT, 12:47 p.m. MDT, followed by a series of aftershocks. University of Utah seismograph stations website lists the following, among others of lower magnitude:

  • a magnitude 3.8 earthquake within a mile of the first one at 12:05 p.m. PST, 1:05 p.m MDT
  • a magnitude 3.0 earthquake within 2 miles of the first event at 12:19 p.m. PST, 1:13 p.m. MDT
  • a magnitude 3.4 earthquake within 1 mile of the first event at 12:41 p.m. PST, 1:41 p.m. MDT

Additional aftershocks may be expected.

In the seismology graph below, the main quake can be seen in the color green, with the greater of the aftershocks shown in red, black and blue.

Seismology graph generated from the University of Utah Zion National Park seismology station, Utah, May 22, 2015 | Image courtesy of the University of Utah, Seismology Department, St. George News
Seismology graph generated from the University of Utah Zion National Park seismology station, Utah, May 22, 2015 | Image courtesy of the University of Utah, Seismology Department, St. George News

The initial quake was felt across southern Nevada, in Las Vegas and Mesquite, as well as in Southern Utah, from St. George to Cedar City, and Hildale.

Roads impacts

As of 3:15 p.m. PDT, 4:15 p.m. MDT, Nevada Department of Transportation has posted an alert advising that ramps from U.S. 95 to I-15 northbound and southbound are both closed, as well as the MLK on onramp to I-15 southbound.

With regard to its closures, Nevada Department of Transportation posted the following statement:

NDOT inspects its 1,100 bridges statewide at least twice a year. All of our bridge structures are designed to withstand rigorous wind and earthquake loading. Nevada lies within an active seismic zone, which is something that we take into account during the project design and engineering phase. Nevada consequently has some of the best rated bridges in the country, according to a recent report by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Only 1.8 percent of Nevada bridges are classified as structurally deficient, which is the lowest in the country.

There were no apparent impacts on Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge and no rockslides, Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms said. He had been sitting on the side of the road when the earthquake occurred, he said, and felt nothing.

People reflect

Mesquite, Nevada, resident Denise Vaughn said she had never felt an earthquake before and wasn’t sure what was happening.

“I kept looking at the clock and realized this was going on longer than just a little shake,” Vaughn said. “Chains on the ceiling fans were moving all over and the bed was shaking. I stood up and thought to myself … I can now say I have ‘felt the earth move under my feet.'”

Great Basin Foods employee Logan Decker, in Caliente, Nevada, said, “It wasn’t bad. We had some small stuff fall of the shelves. But it wasn’t too bad.”

St. George News reporters Ric Wayman and Julie Applegate contributed to this report.


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Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.


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  • wilbur May 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    swayed desk lamps here in Dammeron – house creaked a bit

  • Bender May 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    ” An earthquake 39 kilometers south-southwest of Caliente, Nevada” – Freedom units please!
    “and 63 miles west-southwest of St. George” – ahh so much better.

    • Brian May 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Cool name aside, I prefer metric. It’s a far superior measurement system in every way (particularly mathematically and scientifically). It’s consistent and predictable.

      • Bender May 23, 2015 at 12:04 am

        Son, you take your Commie metric yardstick back to France where you belong. “A pint’s a pound the world round.”

  • SteveSGU May 22, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    “ramps from U.S. 95 to I-15 northbound and southbound are both closed”

    This is not very helpful for those of us who travel to Las Vegas and need to know when to plan an alternate route. Are there two, three, or four on-ramps to I-15 closed? Which ones, exactly? For example, it was first reported that the on-ramp from southbound Hwy. 95 onto southbound I-15 was closed. Which other one(s) are closed? What is the estimated time for re-opening? What are they likely going to do to fix the problems (for example the 2-inch space between pavement blocks on the on-ramp I mentioned)?

    • SteveSGU May 22, 2015 at 11:44 pm

      Oh, and also: Were no highway off-ramps affected by the earthquakes?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic May 23, 2015 at 8:04 am

      Steve, I appreciate your sharing your frustration, it helps us refine our delivery – it is our aim to make a News LIVE report as clear as possible for you.
      I’m not sure I understand your confusion about the ramps. NDOT was specific: The ramps from U.S. 95 onto I-15 were closed – at first only the ramp onto I-15 southbound, later the ramp onto I-15 northbound as well. If you are aware of more than one interchange between U.S. 95 and I-15 in Nevada, please illuminate?
      Please understand that when we publish news LIVE, the report updates with news items in the moment, it is a developing report and depth often comes later. NDOT had not estimated time of reopening when we reported each of the ramp closures – the point was to alert motorists to the closure in the moment. NDOT was appraising damage in that same moment so had not yet prescribed a plan to address what they had not yet diagnosed. Certainly, what NDOT will do going forward is likely ripe for a stand-alone followup story.
      Again, thank you for the comment and I hope this helps clarify the nature of our News LIVE reports.
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • SteveSGU May 23, 2015 at 9:40 am

    “The ramp onto I-15 southbound” is not clear, because there are TWO ramps from Hwy. 95 onto I-15 southbound (from Hwy. 95 southbound and from Hwy. 95 northbound). Even if the reporter is not familiar with the area, you can look on a map to understand that there are FOUR on-ramps to I-15 at that intersection.

    And updates should also be provided. In this case, the damage was determined to be minor and all ramps were back open again at 5:00 pm yesterday.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic May 23, 2015 at 9:45 am

      Very helpful, thank you Steve

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