2020 – Magna, UT – M 5.7

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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M 2.5 in Magna, Widely Felt In the Salt Lake Valley

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: November 18, 2020 05:00 PM MST

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a small earthquake of magnitude 2.5 occurred this afternoon at 3:17 PM, November 18, 2020 (MST).  The shock was located 6.2 miles beneath the northwestern part of the Salt Lake Valley, 3 mi east northeast of the town of Magna, UT.  This earthquake was an aftershock of the magnitude 5.7 earthquake that occurred in the same area on March 18.  Today’s aftershock was felt by more than one hundred residents of the Salt Lake Valley. To date, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations has located 2,531 aftershocks from the March 18 earthquake, including 75 of magnitude 2.5 or larger and 40 of magnitude 3.0 and larger. In recent weeks there have been, on the average, approximately six aftershocks per week large enough to locate, most of them smaller than magnitude 2.0.  Aftershock activity is expected to continue for months, but with the rate continuing to decrease with time.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form on the US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:

Date (UTC):   November 18, 2020   Time (UTC):   22:17

Date (local): November 18, 2020   Time (local): 03:17 PM MST

Latitude: 40.7285° N

Longitude: 112.0663° W

Preferred magnitude: 2.5 Ml

Video update about Magnitude 5.7 earthquake in Magna

UUSS Director Keith Koper sat down on Facebook live to explain how the UUSS responds to earthquake events, like the Magnitude 5.7 earthquake in Magna, UT. He also shared important things to know and simple steps to take to be prepared.

Update from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Here's an update with our Director Keith Koper on what we're doing and what you can do regarding today's earthquakes.

Posted by University of Utah Seismograph Stations on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Sequence Update (April 16, 2020)
University of Utah Seismograph Stations presentation about the M5.7 Magna, Utah, earthquake. Presented by UUSS director Keith Koper at the Utah Seismic Safety Commission Quarterly Meeting held May 7, 2020.

1962 – Magna, UT – M 5.2

Intermountain Seismic Belt Historical Earthquake Project

September 5, 1962 – Magna, UT – M 5.2

A magnitude 5.2 earthquake occurred in Magna, Utah, on Wednesday, September 5, 1962 at 9:04 a.m.

The earthquake was felt from the Ogden, Utah area in the north, down to the Provo/Spanish Fork, Utah area in the south. Widespread structural damage occurred in the Salt Lake Valley, particularly in the northwest.

Structural damage included: shattered windows, collapsed walls or ceilings, cracked foundations, cracked and falling plaster, fallen chimneys, homes shifted on foundations, and dislodged parapet walls. Cracks appeared in houses and buildings throughout the Valley. In downtown Salt Lake City, building damage was mostly limited to cracks in plaster.

Non-structural damage was also widespread and varied: overturned aquariums, store goods fallen from shelves, broken dishes and so forth. There were many reports of stopped clocks.

A number of schools were closed temporarily due to building damage or until inspections could be completed.

Water lines, gas lines and electrical service were not interrupted. One high-pressure gas leak in Davis County, Utah, was repaired after several hours. Telephones remained in service, however, circuits were jammed by calls—some for several hours. There were no reports of damage to roads or rail lines.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported for this earthquake. One person suffered a broken leg after falling on a floor made slippery by contents from broken bottles. Another person sustained a hip injury from slipping as she tried rush from a building.



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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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