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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