The strongest earthquake to hit the region in years as well as 50 smaller quakes occurred from Saturday night to Sunday morning in Southeast Idaho, startling tens of thousands of residents.
Authorities said it did not appear that the quakes caused any injuries to people or damage to structures (ADVICE ON WHAT TO DO IF AN EARTHQUAKE HITS YOUR TOWN IS AT THE END OF THIS ARTICLE).
The quakes were felt in Caribou County, where all 51 occurred, as well as in cities in northern Utah and throughout Southeast Idaho.
Eighteen of the quakes occurred on Sunday morning — the last being at 11:41 a.m. — and 33 occurred on Saturday night, according to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.
Bannock County Sheriff Lorin Nielsen said he’s been a law enforcement officer in Southeast Idaho for over 40 years and during that time there’s never previously been so many earthquakes occurring in such a short time frame. He said at the most there have been up to three earthquakes that have occurred in short succession along the East Idaho-Western Wyoming border. The dozens of earthquakes that occurred from Saturday night through Sunday morning are unprecedented, the sheriff said.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Nielsen said. “My wife asked if we should leave the house.”
The earthquakes occurred starting shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday. The second quake to strike was at 5:56 p.m. Saturday and it was the most powerful thus far. The quake was about 10 miles east of Soda Springs and registered at 5.3 on the Richter scale — strong enough to possibly damage buildings. It’s been years since Southeast Idaho has experienced a quake of over 5.0 on the Richter scale.
The earthquakes have occurred at various distances east, southeast and northeast of Soda Springs, Caribou County’s largest city. The farthest away were about 18 miles southeast and northeast of Soda Springs and the closest was about 2 miles east of the city.
The quakes were felt as far away as Logan and Ogden in northern Utah and Arimo, Pocatello, Chubbuck, American Falls, Fort Hall, Aberdeen, Blackfoot and Springfield in Southeast Idaho.