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Sunday earthquake one of thousands of aftershocks from 2020 Magna earthquake

Posted at 6:13 PM, Feb 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-21 22:31:15-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A 2.3 magnitude earthquake was felt by many across the Salt Lake Valley Sunday morning, with some taking to social media to share their experience.

According to University of Utah Seismology, the earthquake occurred just after 6 a.m., a few miles northwest of West Valley City.

"It was seven miles beneath the northwestern part of the Salt Lake Valley, basically near 1500 South and 5400 West," said Jim Pechmann, a seismologist at the University of Utah Seismograph Station.

Magna resident Scott Taylor felt the quake as he was just getting ready to start his day.

"I think it was like 6:01 [a.m.] and I felt this roll kind of come across," he said. "It only lasted probably two or three seconds maybe. I don't know, it seemed like it lasted longer."

Although Sunday's quake pales in comparison to the 5.7 magnitude tremor that rocked the Salt Lake Valley almost one year ago, Taylor said it was still a shocking experience.

"You kind of get used to them, but now it's been a few months since we've had any shakes, and so this was kind of a startler this morning," he added. "Kind of a get your heart pumping, get your heart pounding type of feeling."

Pechmann said Sunday's earthquake was just one of more than 2,500 aftershocks since the Magna earthquake last March. The aftershocks have ranged from magnitude 0.5 to 4.6, according to Pechmann.

"Forty of them have been magnitude three and larger and there's been 117 of magnitude 2.3 and larger," he added. "So, comparable to or larger than the aftershock this morning."

"I've been here 29 years in Utah, and in Magna, and you know, up until last year never had any experience with an earthquake," Taylor said.

With the thousands of aftershocks since last year, many are worried the Salt Lake Valley's multiple fault lines are more active than normal. Pechmann said the tremors are part of typical seismic activity, and aftershocks can last up to several years after large earthquakes.

"I think we'll still be seeing occasional aftershocks maybe through the rest of this year. Certainly, for the next few months."

He advises people to secure loose objects around their homes and to consider getting their house seismically retrofitted if they live in an unreinforced brick home.