CALIENTE, NEV. – Residents across Utah reported feeling a magnitude 5.4 earthquake that originated in Caliente, Nevada, Friday afternoon.
The U.S. Geological Survey recorded the earthquake at 12:47 p.m. While originally recorded as a 5.4 magnitude quake, seismologists at the University of Utah seismology center said it was actually a 4.8 magnitude quake at the epicenter about 24 miles south, southwest of Caliente, Nevada, at 12:47 p.m.
“It looks like a strike slip earthquake,” said U of U research seismologist Kathernie Whidden. “Which is similar to what the San Andreas fault looks like in California.”
The main quake was followed by several smaller aftershocks, each ranging in magnitude between 3.8 and 3.0. It was enough to be felt 60 miles away in St. George, Utah, although most didn’t realize it was an earthquake at the time.
“I was just driving, felt the car wiggle a little bit,” said St. George resident Thomas Anderson. “[My] mom texted me and was like, did you feel the earthquake? I was like, no. I just thought it was the car freaking out."
KSVN in Las Vegas said freeway damage has been reported on U.S. highway 95 southbound to the interstate 15 southbound ramps as a result of the quake. The damage closed the ramp while crews assessed the cracks in the road.
Nevada’s Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said that while the quake was felt and startled many residents, none reported any damage.
For many in St. George, this was their first time experiencing a mid-range earthquake. Resident Tiffany Bright was working when the ground shook and said it opened their eyes to the potential danger.
“I would never think that something like that would happen here,” Bright said. “I think because I’ve never felt it. So it’s weird to know that it can.”
The St. George dispatch center says they did receive some calls about the earthquake itself, but no reports of any damage.