5.7-Magnitude Earthquake Strikes Utah, Salt Lake City Airport Closed

March 18, 2020 Updated: March 18, 2020
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A 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Salt Lake City, Utah, and its suburbs early Wednesday, sending spooked residents fleeing their homes, knocking out power for tens of thousands, and closing the city’s airport.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake hit about 2 miles north-northeast of Magna, Utah, which is approximately 30 miles west of Salt Lake City.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the tremor was felt in Logan and in Salt Lake County. Six aftershocks struck the area, registering between magnitude 3.4 and 3.7.

“Utah just experienced its largest earthquake since 1992. It was a 5.9 in St. George,” the Utah Emergency Management agency wrote on Twitter.

“It didn’t feel like a small earthquake at all. I heard things in my kitchen falling,” said Michael McCarlie, a local man, according to Deseret News.

Another person wrote on Twitter: “That was an earthquake we just felt in Utah. A good sized one.”

Salt City Utah earthquake
People gather on the sidewalk after a partial building collapse following an earthquake in Salt Lake City on March 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

There were no initial reports of major damage to buildings or injuries, said Utah Emergency Management spokesman Joe Dougherty.

Operations at Salt Lake City International Airport came to a halt and the control tower and concourses were evacuated, the airport wrote on Twitter. Officials were conducting a runway inspection to try to determine if there was any damage, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. Planes headed to Salt Lake City were diverted.

The quake also shut down the light rail service for Salt Lake City and its suburbs.

Some residents ran from their homes and into the streets as they felt the earthquake shake buildings for 10 to 15 seconds.

The quake knocked pictures from walls and dishes from shelves, and people reported feeling it in the neighboring states of Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming, and Nevada. Gov. Gary Herbert warned people to stay away from downtown Salt Lake City while officials assess damage.

About 55,000 people lost electricity in the Salt Lake City area, said utility Rocky Mountain Power.

It was the largest earthquake to hit the state since a 5.9 magnitude quake shook southern Utah in 1992, according to Utah Emergency Management.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.