Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project
August 14, 1988 – San Rafael Swell, UT – M 5.3
This earthquake was located approximately 10 miles ESE of Castle Dale, Utah in Emery County.
There were no reports of injuries or serious damage resulting from the earthquake. Reports indicate that the earthquake was felt as far east as Golden, Colorado, as far south as Albuquerque, New Mexico, as far west as Delta, Utah, and as far north as Brigham City, Utah. The earthquake was reportedly felt particularly in valleys, while less noticed in mountain areas.
Minor damage in Emery County consisted of cracks in foundations, chimneys, and old buildings. Dishes and store goods fell from shelves and pictures were dislodged from wall hooks. Cracks and plaster damage were also observed in ceilings and walls.
Calls about the earthquake were received from several coal mines in the area, but there were no reports of injury or damage. Local dams were examined and found to be sound.
Rock falls were a notable feature of this earthquake. Fallen boulders impeded travel on some roadways. In many locations, falling rocks sent up clouds of dust that were visible for many miles.
Near the epicenter, north of Ferron, Utah a resident reported seeing dust clouds on the western ridge that partially obscured Ferron Mountain and the cliffs around the Wilberg Mine. “You couldn’t see the mountain up around Wilberg for five to 10 minutes because of the dust. Same on the desert [to the east]. Just a big string of dust from as far south to as far north as you could see.”
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