5.7 magnitude earthquake hits Salt Lake City, area, unnerving residents
March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020
A 5.7 magnitude earthquake hit Utah on Wednesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said, knocking out power and rattling residents already shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic.
About 73,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in the Salt Lake City Area, utility Rocky Mountain Power said, but power was being quickly restored in some areas.
Some people ran from their homes and into the streets as dishes fell from shelves and pictures from walls. Operations at Salt Lake City International Airport stopped, and the control tower and concourses were evacuated, the airport tweeted. The airport was expected to reopen later Wednesday.
The quake also shut down the light rail service for Salt Lake City and its suburbs.
People in Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada reported feeling the quake.
In downtown Salt Lake City, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ iconic Salt Lake Temple sustained minor damage. Gov. Gary Herbert warned people to stay away from downtown Salt Lake City while crews checked for further damage.
There were no immediate reports of injuries, Utah Emergency Management spokesman Joe Dougherty said.
The quake’s epicenter was located near Magna, Utah, which is just southwest of Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
The earthquake hit a little after 7 a.m. local time. An estimated 2.76 million people likely felt the quake, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. Most residents felt their homes shaking for 10 to 15 seconds.
New father Ryan Jensen, whose baby was born Wednesday morning at Altaview Hospital in West Jordan, Utah, told USA TODAY via text that the “hospital was rocking. Man oh man as if being born in a pandemic wasn’t enough, man that was nerve rattling.”
Janis Ferre of Salt Lake City wrote on Facebook: “It sounded as though our house was stretching,” the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.
Added Holladay resident John E. Henderson: “It felt like somebody picked up my house and dropped it,” the Tribune said.
It was the largest earthquake in Utah since a 5.9 magnitude quake hit the state in 1992, Utah Emergency Management said.
The U.S. Geological Survey said that in general, magnitude 5 or larger earthquakes occur at an average rate of about one every 10 years in this area.
Magnitude 6 or larger earthquakes occur about every 50 years in this area