ST. GEORGE – A minor earthquake shook the ground 17 miles west of Ivins near the Nevada border early Monday morning. The local magnitude 3.0 earthquake happened at 7:47 a.m., and there are no reports of any damage or injuries.
Both the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Utah Seismograph Station are reporting the local magnitude 3.0 earthquake, although the two use slightly different measuring systems.
“We usually record an average of 25 or 26 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater a year somewhere in Utah,” said UUSS Earthquake Information Officer Paul Roberson.
“We don’t expect damage until you get closer to a magnitude 5,” Roberson said. “It’s just a good reminder to think about earthquake preparedness and the potential for a larger earthquake.”
While the earthquake was minor, residents should keep in mind that Southern Utah is in an active geological zone for earthquakes.
“We certainly have potential both along the Wasatch Front as well as in the St. George/Cedar City area for a large damaging earthquake, particularly above a magnitude 6,” Roberson said.
Earthquakes in Southern Utah
The Hurricane fault is the second largest fault in Utah. While the Hurricane fault is not as long, or as active, as the Wasatch fault, it and the Washington fault are both capable of generating large earthquakes.
The last major event in Southern Utah was the St. George earthquake of 1992 at local magnitude 5.8. That earthquake caused a lot of damage to older brick buildings and also triggered a landslide in Springdale.
Preparedness and awareness are important. Old unreinforced brick buildings, or unreinforced masonry, or URM, can be a big problem when sizable earthquakes hit. Southern Utah has tens of thousands of URMS among 160,000 statewide, Bill Lund of the Southern Utah Geological Survey said in a May 2013 interview. And they present a dilemma to the URM owner, he said; it is possible to do a “seismic retrofit,” but the cost is usually prohibitive.
Geologic risk of some kind exists in any region. Southern Utah residents need to be aware of the risks, and understand how to be prepared. University of Utah Seismograph Stations has prepared an informative booklet, provided here: Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country.
St. George News Editor-in-Chief Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this report.
- Feel an earthquake in Southern Utah? Fill out a “Did you feel it?” report for the U.S. Geological Survey.
- Utah Geological Survey
- University of Utah Seismograph Stations
- Morning earthquake; Southern Utah is earthquake country
- Public information officers train in earthquake response
- Mag. 4.1 quake leads off two dozen earthquakes 37 miles from St. George