Due to it's close proximity to several urban population centers, the active faults in the Walker Lane belt pose a good deal of hazard to a relatively unaware and unprepared public. Several large earthquakes (>7.0) have occurred in the last century, and due to the quickly escalating population of Nevada, earthquakes are much more probable to rock a growing population center not ready or as aware of the danger as other regions such as southern California
One particular fault, Peavine fault, located about 5 miles NW of downtown Reno. Despite the fact that it is one of the most active faults in the region, it remains virtually unstudied. Although Reno has adopted new building codes (ex. click here) for higher earthquake resiliancy, many other cities have not followed suit, or at least not with the same strictness of Reno. The fact that they have recently adopted stricter standards for earthquake building codes does nothing for the thousands of older structures littering western Nevada. These structures that lay void of steel reinforcement, or are made of brick stand little chance of surviving even a moderate tremor.
Aside from just the collapse of many structures, liquefaction is yet another seismic hazard. Because many of the towns along the Walker Lane region are build on young basin fill, they inherently have a high risk of liquefaction. Liquefaction is when unconsolidated sediment (like that found in a young basin) attains a liquid like state when given significant vibration.
.mpeg of liquefaction
This can cause buildings to topple in place, and allow buried objects such as fuel tanks and septic tanks to "float" up to the surface.