3.2-magnitude earthquake hits near Francis
March 18, 2014
Francis resident Eric Averett was sitting at his kitchen table Friday morning when he felt a short rumbling and a "boom" sound. That rumbling was a 3.2-magnitude earthquake, which was reported three miles southwest of Woodland.
"My chair, table and the whole room felt like it trembled just for a few seconds," Averett said, who lives just south of Francis. "It was kind of an eerie feeling. I thought someone drove into my driveway and hit my house."
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations documented the quake, which occurred at 10:03 a.m. on Friday and at a depth of 8.7 miles. Seismologist Katherine Whidden said the location does not feature a known fault line but that a 3.2 quake is "not anything out of the ordinary."
"Anywhere in Utah we could have an earthquake with a magnitude 5.5," Whidden said. "It’s a good reminder that we live with this earthquake threat and that we should be prepared for a larger earthquake, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that a larger one is coming."
Summit County Emergency Manager Kevin Callahan said he had not been informed about the earthquake but added that Friday’s was nothing to worry about.
"We do get 3 to 3.5 [magnitude] rumblers up here every once in a while," Callahan said. "We will have to get up to the 5 [magnitude] range before we see anything of damage."
Based on a U.S. Geological Survey map, there is a nearby quaternary fault that begins just northeast of Francis and continues north past Kamas. There is no documented fault line where Friday’s quake was reported, however, and Whidden confirmed that.
"The Wasatch fault is the one that we worry about the most," Whidden said. "[Friday’s quake] was not on a fault that we knew about."
Utah Emergency Management spokesman Joe Dougherty said the unfortunate aspect about earthquakes is that they strike without notice.
"Faults get discovered periodically in the state. Just because we don’t see an obvious fault line doesn’t mean there isn’t one," Dougherty said. "There are hazards known and unknown all over the place."
In collaboration with Be Ready Utah, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other agencies, Utah Emergency Management is helping to put on what is being called the largest earthquake drill in Utah history the Great ShakeOut.
About 646,000 Utahns have registered to participate in the Great ShakeOut, which will take place April 17 at 10:15 a.m. across the state. Organizers will stress the importance of the one-minute "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drill, which can minimize injuries or save someone’s life.
"We encourage people to be prepared for disasters. Look at contingencies and backup plans," Dougherty said. "We have 800 earthquakes a year in Utah."
For more information on the Great ShakeOut in Utah, visit shakeout.org/utah.