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Major Earthquake, Aftershocks Rock Western Nevada; Shaking Felt In Northern California

TONOPAH, Nevada (CBS SF/CNN) -- A series of earthquakes ranging in magnitude of 6.5 to 4.9 rocked western Nevada in rapid-fire succession early Friday, awakening residents in some communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the first quake -- measuring 6.5 -- struck at 4:03 a.m. and was followed by temblors of 4.9 at 4:18 a.m. and 5.4 at 4:26 a.m. The epicenter was about 35 miles outside Tonopah, just east of the Sierra Nevada range.

Earthquake Damage on Highway 95 in Western Nevada
Earthquake damage on Highway 95 near Tonopah, Nevada, May 15, 2020. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)

The initial quake struck about 4.7 miles deep, the USGS said, and at least six sizable aftershocks were recorded shortly thereafter, including two with estimated magnitudes of 5.4.

According to the USGS, shaking from the largest Tonopah quake was felt as far away as Oakland, San Jose and other East and South Bay communities.

Several people in Fresno reported swaying lights and being awakened by the jolt.

Across the region, residents took to Twitter to respond to the quake.

The earthquake was "widely felt," USGS spokesman Paul Laustsen told CNN.

"There have been almost 8,000 'Did you feel it' reports, with people logging into USGS to report it," Laustsen said.

Esmeralda County Sheriff's Deputy Jacob Stritenberger felt the main earthquake and it was the biggest one he's ever experienced, he said.

"North- and southbound is undriveable around mile marker 89," Stritenberger said. "According to people who called it in, it's buckled really bad."

Part of U.S. 95 -- the main highway between Las Vegas and Reno -- was closed as state troopers and sheriff's deputies from Esmeralda and Mineral counties checked the highway and state Route 360 for possible damage, the Mineral County sheriff's office said.

Nevada Highway Patrol photos showed cracks on U.S. 95 that Trooper Hannah DeGoey said were caused by the earthquake. No injuries were reported and crews were working to reopen the highway.

Keith Hasty was working at the Super 7 gas station on Main Street in Tonopah told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the quake rattled his store.

"It really shook a lot of groceries off the shelves," Hasty said.

He said he hadn't heard of any damage but the temblor did startle the local residents.

"We have a lot of locals coming in saying their TVs were shaking, they felt it," Hasty told the paper. "No damage that I've heard of. My boss just called and said his garage shook."

© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten. The Associated Press and CNN contributed to this report

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