4.9 quake rumbles parts of Utah, Wyo., Idaho; no immediate reports of damage, injuries

Thursday, April 15, 2010

4.9 quake shakes Utah, Wyo., Idaho

SALT LAKE CITY — A magnitude 4.9 earthquake rattled parts of Utah, Wyoming and Idaho on Thursday evening. There were no immediate reports of significant damage or injuries.

University of Utah officials say the quake hit just before 6 p.m. MDT. The epicenter was about five miles east-northeast of Randolph, a tiny town about 73 miles northeast of Salt Lake City.

The quake was the largest in Utah since a magnitude 5.9 temblor hit near St. George in 1992, according to Relu Burlacu of the University of Utah seismograph stations.

The U.S. Geological Survey Web site logged more than 1,400 responses from people who said they felt Thursday’s quake less than an hour after it struck. Responses ranged from Provo, Salt Lake City and Ogden to Jackson, Wyo., and Pocatello, Idaho.

“It was pretty strong,” said Stacy Showalter, who works at Gator’s Drive-Inn in Randolph. She said a cook was jolted a couple feet from the grill to the counter.

Bart Shiveley, a 25-year-old security guard in the Wells Fargo Building in downtown Salt Lake City, said it felt like “swaying on a boat or in a rocking chair; it was nothing big.”

Mark Glick, 54, a lawyer who works on the 18th floor of the Wells Fargo building, said he was standing up in his office when it happened.

“It felt like a mild earthquake,” Glick said. “Most people didn’t feel it, this is just like a small tremor.”

A dispatcher with the Rich County sheriff’s office said the temblor was strong enough to shake pictures on the wall.

In the southeastern corner of Idaho, Franklin County sheriff’s office dispatcher Dave Matthews felt the quake for about 20 seconds, and it was strong enough to shake him in his office chair and make the window blinds sway.

“The lights on my phone lit up like a Christmas tree,” Matthews said, “Everybody felt it, but nobody was injured.”

Bear Lake County dispatcher Linda Jensen said there were reports of minor shaking near Fish Haven, a tiny community on the banks of the Bear River, but nothing serious.

Four earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or greater have struck within 16 miles of the epicenter since 1962, according to officials at the University of Utah seismograph stations. The largest was a magnitude 3.8 in 1979.

A 4.6 quake struck in 1966 within 32 miles of Thursday’s epicenter.

Burlacu said smaller aftershocks are possible.


Associated Press writers Joseph Freeman and Doug Alden in Salt Lake City and Jessie L. Bonner in Boise, Idaho contributed to this report.

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