Small Quakes Leave Big Impression On Utah Residents

Feb 15, 2019, 5:49 AM | Updated: Feb 26, 2019, 12:56 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Residents in Bluffdale, South Jordan, Draper, Sandy, Herriman and other surrounding cities didn’t get a normal wake-up call Friday morning.

The US Geological Survey confirmed the area was hit by two earthquakes. The first, a 3.1-magnitude quake, happened at approximately 5:02 a.m.; and the second, a 3.7-magnitude earthquake, shook houses at approximately 5:09 a.m.

“It was very interesting having an alarm being an earthquake,” said Riverton resident Justin Scott.

“It was just a big rumble,” said Aubrey Cruz, who also lives in Riverton. “I knew what it was just because I’ve been through them before, so my heart sank. I tried to calm myself and turn on the TV.”

In addition to the shaking, the quakes produced some noise — similar to thunder.

“I literally thought we were in the middle of a thunderstorm,” Scott said.

Herriman resident Erin Worland felt it, but she compared it to another earthquake she experienced in Utah.

“It was pretty loud,” she said about Friday’s quake. “I actually experienced the one in St. George in ’92. It was a 5.8, I believe.”

“This one was nothing compared to that,” she added.

The event was enough to get some people thinking about emergency preparedness.

“You always hear Utah is due for a big one,” Cruz said. “I think we’ve heard it so often that we’re almost numb to it.”

She said her first thought was she and her family “definitely” had to get a plan pulled together so they’ll be prepared.

Keith Koper, Director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Keith Koper, Director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Keith Koper, director of the Utah Seismograph Stations at the University of Utah said the probability is small that Friday’s two quakes are leading up to a bigger earthquake. The department is studying what happened in the Bluffdale area, though.

“We really refer to this as an earthquake sequence and the biggest one so far was a 3.7,” said Koper. “The probability of something bigger than a 3.7 is really small but it is a little bit higher than if the 3.7 had not happened.”

As more time passes, Koper said, the likelihood diminishes that today’s earthquakes were foreshocks for a larger seismic event.

Since measurements started being recorded in 1962, the largest earthquake in the Bluffdale area was a 4.1 magnitude tremblor in March, 1992, according to the University of Utah.

The USGS initially reported the first earthquake as 3.3 and the second as 3.8 but later downgraded them to 3.1 and 3.7, respectively. There were six smaller aftershocks reported. All the aftershocks were smaller than a magnitude 2.

KSL TV’s phone lines, emails and social media account were inundated with messages from residents who felt the quake, with varying degrees of intensity.

If you have photos or video of the quakes or the aftermath, send them to

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Small Quakes Leave Big Impression On Utah Residents