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Magnitude-5.7 earthquake shakes Salt Lake City

By
Don Jacobson
The earthquake caused some structural damage and was followed by multiple aftershocks Wednesday. File Photo by Robin Saville/Pixabay/UPI
The earthquake caused some structural damage and was followed by multiple aftershocks Wednesday. File Photo by Robin Saville/Pixabay/UPI

March 18 (UPI) -- A strong magnitude-5.7 earthquake struck the Salt Lake City area on Wednesday, shaking buildings, closing the airport and cutting power to thousands.

The quake was the strongest to hit the city, which sits on a major tectonic fault, since 1992.

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The earthquake struck at 7:14 a.m. and was centered in Magna, about 15 miles west of downtown Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was followed by a series of aftershocks, including one that registered a magnitude of 4.6. Officials warned that more are likely to follow throughout Wednesday.

The Utah Division of Emergency Management said homes and businesses shook for 150 miles along the Wasatch Front from Logan to Provo. Utility Rocky Mountain Power said the quake cut power to about 55,000 customers.

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Salt Lake City International Airport and its control tower were evacuated and closed following the quake.

The airport's facilities were deemed structurally sound and reopened at 1:15 p.m. with the first flight departing at 2:54 p.m. The airport said flights that were diverted would be arriving shortly afterward.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert urged residents and workers to stay away from downtown Salt Lake City as crews assessed damage. He also said Utah's coronavirus hotline was down, as was the Utah Department of Health lab.

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The health lab was expected to be functioning again on Thursday.

"I know the last thing we need right now is an earthquake, but here we are, and it sounds like aftershocks are likely," Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said. "The city is assessing the situation now and I'll circle back with an update when I have it. Be safe."

Residents reported scattered minor structural damage to homes and commercial buildings, but no injuries were initially reported.

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