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UNR Seismology Team On the Ground in Nepal

PHOTO: The latest major earthquake to hit Nepal comes as a seismology team from the University of Nevada-Reno is there studying the causes and impact of the magnitude 7.8 quake that struck on April 25, killing 8,000 people. Photo courtesy University of Nevada-Reno.
PHOTO: The latest major earthquake to hit Nepal comes as a seismology team from the University of Nevada-Reno is there studying the causes and impact of the magnitude 7.8 quake that struck on April 25, killing 8,000 people. Photo courtesy University of Nevada-Reno.
May 13, 2015

RENO, Nev. - A seismologist from the University of Nevada-Reno and two of his graduate students have been on the ground in Nepal, a nation dealing with another deadly earthquake this week.

University spokesman Mike Wolterbeek said Professor Steve Wesnousky left Nepal just a few hours before the magnitude 7.3 quake struck on Tuesday. He said two of Wesnousky's students, Steve Angster and Ian Pierce, remained in the country and experienced the major shaker.

"They've described it as like being on an ocean with waves bouncing you around," Wolterbeek said. "The real big motion lasted about 20 or 30 seconds, but the motion lasted about two minutes."

Wolterbeek said Angster and Pierce were standing in a field near Kathmandu when Tuesday's quake struck. They reported seeing clouds of dust, which they assumed was from falling buildings, and also said water in a nearby pond was splashed around for about two minutes during the event.

Wolterbeek said Wesnousky, who heads the university's Center for Neotectonic Studies, has been studying what is known as the Himalayan Frontal Thrust Fault since 1999. He described it as having similarities to Southern California.

"There's a similar fault like this in the Los Angeles basin," Wolterbeek said, "and so, we can learn a lot for what could happen there from this earthquake. That's why he sent his team out there."

More than 8,000 people were killed and 18,000 injured by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on April 25.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV