Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project
March 18, 2020 – Magna, UT – M 5.7
On Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Utah was jolted by a magnitude 5.7 earthquake that occurred 3.1 miles north of Magna, Utah. The shaking from the earthquake was widely felt throughout the Wasatch Front area of north-central Utah.
Interest from the public was high. In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic and the start of quarantine, this was the first moderate-sized earthquake many Utah residents experienced. Social media and other digital coverage made it a widely-covered event.
There were no serious injuries or deaths that were recorded. Several buildings sustained damages as a result of the earthquake. Magna’s main street and a nearby trailer park were the hardest hit areas. Most of the damage occurred on buildings with unreinforced masonry. Total damage estimates were around $48.5 million a month after the mainshock.
The M5.7 was the largest earthquake to occur in Utah since a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in 1992 in southwestern Utah near St. George. The earthquake occurred in a seismically active part of the Salt Lake Valley. Before March 18, the area experienced six magnitude 3.0 or larger earthquakes since 1962, the largest being the magnitude 5.2 on September 5, 1962.
The M5.7 was designated the mainshock of the Magna Earthquake Sequence. There were no foreshocks. Over the course of 2–3 months, the aftershocks grew to number over 2,000. This count included 6 earthquakes in the M4 range and 34 earthquakes in the M3 range.
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