Aftershocks continue to rattle northern Utah, but don’t buy the rumors

Mar 18, 2020, 1:31 PM | Updated: 4:01 pm
This is what it looked like after the initial 5.7 earthquake in Salt Lake City. KSL's morning shows had to evacuate and broadcast from outside the building during a power outage. Photo: Andy Farnsworth

SALT LAKE CITY — A magnitude 4.6 earthquake, the most recent of dozens of aftershocks, shook northern Utah around 1:12 p.m. Wednesday, almost exactly six hours after an initial 5.7 quake rocked homes and rattled nerves near Magna.

Most of the aftershocks so far registered under a magnitude of four, but two crossed that threshold and were widely felt: a 4.5 earlier Wednesday morning, and the 4.6 quake Wednesday afternoon.

Meanwhile, seismologists urged people not to share rumors, such as a claim on social media that a 9.0 earthquake is likely to happen in the next 30 minutes.

It’s very difficult to predict earthquakes, and according to seismologists at the University of Utah, one of that magnitude is impossible in Utah.

That’s not to say we couldn’t still experience a larger earthquake – there is a very small chance that could happen. However, aftershocks are likely to continue over the next few days. Seismologists said previous experience tells them we could experience hundreds of aftershocks over 3.0 in magnitude. According to the USGS, the odds of any of those aftershocks being larger than 5.7 in magnitude is very small, at about 6%.

The USGS reported the initial quake generated more than 15,000 “Did You Feel It?” reports on their website. Most of the quakes so far have been very shallow, which can increase their perceived intensity.

This story will be updated.

Earthquake preparedness

Utah is “Earthquake Country,” meaning the state is susceptible to earthquakes, especially along the Wasatch Front. It’s important to prepare yourself and your family for an earthquake. Here are some basic tips on earthquake preparedness:

Before an Earthquake

  • Move or secure objects that could fall and hurt you
  • Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them
  • Create a disaster-preparedness plan and have disaster supply kits ready

During an Earthquake

  • Seek cover under sturdy furniture or doorways. As things move, hold on, and move with it.
  • Move away from windows and objects that could fall
  • Move against a wall in the interior of the building, cover and protect yourself

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Aftershocks continue to rattle northern Utah, but don’t buy the rumors