1988 – San Rafael Swell, UT – M 5.3

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.”


For additional information about this earthquake:

Earthquake Summary 3D Newspaper Articles 3D Photos 3D Blank Thumbnail
Personal Accounts 3D Additional Resources 3D Blank Thumbnail Blank Thumbnail

For more information about this project:

ISB Hist EQ Proj


Magnitude 3.3 near Cedar City, UT


University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: March 05, 2017 1:30 PM MST

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor
earthquake of magnitude 3.3 occurred at 12:14 PM on March 05, 2017
(MST).  The epicenter of the shock was located in the Cedar Valley,
6 miles WSW of Enoch, UT and 7.1 miles NNW of Cedar City, Utah.

The earthquake was reported felt in the vicinity of Cedar City.
A total of 34 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have
occurred within 16 miles of the epicenter of this event since 1962.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form
either on the Seismograph Stations website: www.quake.utah.edu or the
US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:

Date (UTC):   March 05, 2017         Time (UTC):   19:14

Date (local): March 05, 2017         Time (local): 12:14 PM MST

Latitude:     37 45.82′ N

Longitude:    113 7.99′ W

Preferred magnitude: 3.30 Ml

The 2013 Bingham Canyon landslide, moment by moment

In spring 2013, observation systems at Utah’s Bingham Canyon copper mine detected ground movement in a hillslope surrounding the mine’s open pit. Out of caution, mine managers evacuated personnel and shut down production, waiting for the inevitable.


On April 10, at 9:30 p.m. and again at 11:05 p.m., the slope gave way and thundered down into the pit, filling in part of what had been the largest man-made excavation in the world. Later analysis estimated that the landslide was at the time the largest non-volcanic slide in recorded North American history. Now, University of Utah geoscientists have revisited the slide with a combined analysis of aerial photos, computer modeling, and seismic data to pick apart the details. The total volume of rock that fell during the slide was 52 million cubic meters, they report, enough to cover Central Park with 50 feet of rock and dirt. The slide occurred in two main phases, but researchers used infrasound recordings and seismic data to discover 11 additional landslides that occurred between the two main events. Modeling and further seismic analysis revealed the average speeds at which the hillsides fell: 81 mph for the first main slide and 92 mph for the second, with peak speeds well over 150 mph.


The study shows how the team’s methods can be used to remotely characterize a landslide, and the details they elicited from the data may be useful in planning for and modeling future landslide events.

The results are published in Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface.


Animations of both phases of the slide can be found here: