1876 – Moroni, UT – M 5.0

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

March 22, 1876 – Moroni, UT – M 5.0

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred in Moroni, Utah on Wednesday, March 22, 1876. The earthquake was felt over an area of 1158 square miles. This is approximately two-thirds of the area of Sanpete County, Utah—the county in which the earthquake occurred. Reports indicate that earthquakes were felt in Sanpete County over the course of several days.

A report from Mt. Pleasant, Utah said that the shaking frightened people, some of whom ran into the street screaming. Reported damage consisted of cracked walls and falling plaster. The porch of one house fell.

No injuries were reported.



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1933 – Parowan, UT – M 5.0

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

January 20, 1933 – Parowan, UT – M 5.0

On Friday, January 20, 1933, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred in Parowan, UT. The earthquake was reported felt in Panguitch, Utah (approximately 21 miles west of Parowan) and Paragonah, Utah (approximately 4 miles southeast of Parowan).

A report from Paragonah indicated that the shaking excited the community but caused no significant damage. In Panguitch, the earthquake shook buildings and rattled windows and wall hangings. There was also a report that some light meters in the city roared due to atmospheric disturbances accompanying the earthquake.

There were no injuries or significant damage reported.



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1910 – Salt Lake City, UT – M 5½ ±

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

May 22, 1910 – Salt Lake City, UT – M 5½ ±

On Sunday, May 22, 1910, at 7:28 a.m. local time, a magnitude 5½ ± earthquake struck Salt Lake City, Utah. At the time, it was the most severe earthquake recorded in the city’s history. Shaking was also distinctly felt in the Utah communities of Tooele, Nephi, Garfield and Bingham; and to a lesser degree in Ogden, Utah.

Frightened people ran from buildings. Some believed that Halley’s Comet had struck the earth. Others thought the end of the world had come. One switchboard in the Salt Lake City reported receiving 5,000 calls in the first 20 minutes of ground shaking. 

There were reports that buildings swayed and houses rocked throughout the city. Light fixtures swung and windows rattled. Books fell from cases, goods were shaken from store shelves, clocks stopped and horses broke out of their stables.

Damage consisted of toppled chimneys, cracked walls and ceilings, falling plaster, and broken mirrors and dishes. The shaking loosened joints in a main gas line, causing severe leaks. One house was damaged when loosened bricks fell through the ceiling.

Though no injuries occurred and damage was minimal, the severe shaking had a sobering effect on the community.



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1958 – Wallsburg, UT – M 5.0

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

February 13, 1958 – Wallsburg, UT – M 5.0

The 1958 Wallsburg, Utah earthquake occurred February 13 at 3:52 p.m. (local time). The epicenter was approximately 10 miles south of Heber City, Utah, in the mountains of the Wasatch Range. The earthquake was generally felt throughout Utah Valley—to the west of the Wasatch Range.

The earthquake was felt strongly in Provo, Utah. Buildings shook and swayed. Furniture and office equipment skidded across floors. Light fixtures swung back and forth. Windows and dishes rattled.

Reported damage included cracked walls and ceilings, and falling plaster. No observable damage occurred to water lines or city pavements.

No injuries from this earthquake were reported.



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1967 – Marysvale, UT – M 5.2

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

October 4, 1967 – Marysvale, UT – M 5.2

In the early morning of October 4, 1967, shaking from a magnitude 5.2 earthquake awakened residents of south central Utah.

The earthquake was reported felt in the communities of Marysvale, Richfield, Bicknell, Beaver, Koosharem and Burrville, Utah. There were no reports of injuries.

A resident from Bicknell reported that stairs shook, windows rattled and closet doors were banging. Reports from Richfield indicated that walls shook, goods fell from store shelves, and a sound like thunder could be heard accompanying the earthquake.

Damage consisted of cracks in walls, broken jars and bottles, and fixtures shaken off mountings.

The earthquake also triggered a minor rockslide on U.S. Route 89 in Marysvale Canyon.



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1908 – Milford, UT – M 5.0

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

April 15, 1908 – Milford, UT – M 5.0

The 1908 Milford, Utah earthquake occurred the evening of Wednesday, April 15. Two newspaper articles reported that the shaking occurred at approximately 8:30 p.m. local time.

The shaking was reportedly most severe in the Utah communities of Milford and Newhouse. The earthquake was also felt in Beaver, Utah. The earthquake was not recorded by seismograph instrumentation in Salt Lake City, Utah.

A roaring sound preceded the shaking according to one report. People ran into streets. Some fainted. Many people experienced a sensation of seasickness due to the earth movement. No fatalities were reported.

Houses shook and windows rattled. Glassware fell from shelves. One person in Milford reported that bureau drawers opened from the force of the shaking. One report expressed the likelihood that damage had occurred inside most homes in the Milford area.

There was also a report of gas being emitted from Mt. Baldy, located northeast of Beaver.



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1945 – Central Idaho – M 6.0

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

February 13, 1945 – Central Idaho – M 6.0

The second large earthquake to strike Central Idaho in less than a year, occurred Tuesday, February 13 at 8:01 p.m. (local time). The earthquake, located approximately 25 miles west northwest of Custer, Idaho, caused buildings and light fixtures to sway, and rattled dishes and window blinds. No injuries or significant damage were reported.

The earthquake was reported generally felt throughout central and north Idaho and southeastern Washington. Felt reports were received from the Idaho communities of Moscow, Boise, Lewiston, Star, Eagle, and Cascade; and from Spokane, Washington and Seattle, Washington.

Telephone switchboards at radio stations, fire stations, police departments and newspaper offices in Boise were flooded with calls.

One newspaper reported, in jest, that the earth tremors might be the result of comments made by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Yalta Conference held in the Soviet Union, February 4-11, 1945.



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1944 – Central Idaho – M 6.1

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

July 12, 1944 – Central Idaho – M 6.1

On Wednesday, July 12, 1944 at 12:30 p.m. (local time), a magnitude 6.1 earthquake occurred in the Central Idaho area, approximately 20 miles west of Custer, Idaho.

The shaking caused some individuals to flee homes and other buildings, but no injuries were reported.

There were reports of swaying buildings and light fixtures, moving furniture and stopped clocks. Some minor damage occurred from falling dishes.

The earthquake was reported felt in local cities of Boise, Nampa, Garden Valley and Idaho City, Weiser, Caldwell and Payette. Individuals in Juntura, Oregon; Ontario, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; and Helena, Montana also reported ground shaking.

In Idaho City, telephone lines were overwhelmed with calls inquiring if the shaking was due to explosions or bombs.



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1943 – Magna, UT – M 5.0

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

February 22, 1943 – Magna, UT – M 5.0

At 8:20 a.m. (local time) on Monday, February 22, 1943, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake occurred near Magna, Utah. It was most strongly felt in Magna and the surrounding Salt Lake Valley. The earthquake was also reported felt in nearby Utah communities of Ogden, Bingham, Tooele and Provo.

Individuals in Bingham initially thought that the shaking was due to a mine blast. Others feared that additional, stronger earthquakes might follow. No injuries from the earthquake were reported.

There were reports from downtown Salt Lake City that buildings swayed slightly, and clocks stopped. Dishes and windows rattled. Merchandise fell from store shelves. A chimney fell at an Air Force training center in Kearns, Utah and there were reports of cracks in buildings. Some people believed that the earthquake caused damage that resulted in roof leaks at the Salt Lake City and County building.

On the day of the Magna earthquake, five people were reportedly killed in an unrelated earthquake off the coast of Mexico, 250 miles southwest of Mexico City.



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1959 – Hebgen Lake, MT – M 7.5

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

August 17, 1959 – Hebgen Lake, MT – M 7.5

The Hebgen Lake earthquake—the largest and deadliest earthquake recorded in Montana and the Intermountain West—occurred at 11:37 p.m. (local time) on Monday, August 17, 1959. The epicenter of the magnitude 7.5 earthquake was approximately 15 miles north of West Yellowstone, Montana (later revised by the U.S. Geological Survey to magnitude 7.3 and located 6.5 miles northwest of West Yellowstone). The earthquake was reported felt as far north as Banff, Canada; as far south as Provo, Utah; as far east as Dickinson, North Dakota; and as far west as Seattle, Washington (Stover and Coffman, 1993). Seven significant aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5½ to 6½ occurred in the three months following the mainshock.

The greatest number of reported injuries and deaths occurred in the Madison River Canyon where the earthquake triggered an 85-million-ton landslide on a mountain five miles west of Hebgen Lake. The landslide roared down over a popular recreation area where an estimated 200 people were camping. The earthquake also caused a northward tilt of the Hebgen Lake bed. This triggered a reported 20-foot wall of water that overtopped Hebgen Dam followed by several 3-4 foot surges. Eyewitnesses reported seeing camping trailers swept down into the Madison River, cars and their occupants buried in dirt and rock, and trees flying through the air. There were reports of screams and cries for help. Twenty-eight individuals died from their injuries or were presumed buried in the slide.

The landslide dammed the Madison River, creating what became known as “Quake Lake.” Montana Highway 287, the primary route through the Madison River Canyon, was rendered impassable due to slide debris, fault scarps (as high as 18 feet) and sections of the highway that fell into Hebgen Lake.

Emergency responders parachuted into the area to establish communication and to provide first-aid. The injured were evacuated by helicopter to an aid station in West Yellowstone and then on to nearby hospitals by airplane. Deceased were airlifted to a morgue in the town of Ennis, Montana. Remaining survivors were able to evacuate later on roads that had been cleared or newly constructed.

According to one report, the ground shaking produced sixteen cracks in the Hebgen Dam. In spite of the damage it was determined the dam would hold. However, precautions were taken to evacuate the town of Ennis 45 miles away and to warn residents in the Madison Valley. The Army Corps of Engineers moved quickly to construct a spillway at Quake Lake before the rising waters topped the landslide dam. Additional earthquake tremors slowed work on roads and dams as well as search and rescue efforts.

When it was determined that no other victims would be recovered from the landslide, a brief memorial service was held near the mouth of the Madison River Canyon. Officiators from several denominations led the group of approximately 50 attendees in prayer. They also consecrated the slide as the final resting place for those who had perished.

The West entrance to Yellowstone National Park was closed with no travel possible along the park’s west side due to landslides, rockfalls and bridge damage. One individual in West Yellowstone at the time of the earthquake reported hearing an awful roar, felt his cabin shaking and lost electrical power. No buildings collapsed but many were severely cracked or damaged. Thousands of frightened tourists left the park, while curious onlookers arrived to survey the damage.

In Billings, Montana, the earthquake awakened hundreds of residents who reported swinging light fixtures, rattling dishes, rolling beds, swinging doors and shaking houses. One person reported that his swimming pool completely overflowed onto the patio.

In Bozeman, Montana, damage included downed chimney tops and store merchandise shaken from shelves.



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