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Experiencing the quake: reactions from Idaho to Utah

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SODA SPRINGS, Idaho — A 5.3-magnitude earthquake shook towns in northern Utah and southern Idaho on Saturday evening, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The major earthquake started at 5:56 p.m., rocking towns from Rexburg to Salt Lake City. Two weaker aftershocks took place, one 3.1 magnitude and the other 3.2, about 10 minutes later, according to the USGS.

Several smaller aftershocks continued periodically until about 6:44 p.m., according to USGS reports.

No damages or injuries were reported in Utah or Idaho.

"A magnitude 5.3 is a decent-sized, moderate earthquake," said Jim Pechmann, seismologist at the University of Utah. "It's not surprising that it was felt all throughout northern Utah, as well as in southeastern Idaho and western Wyoming."

Items might have fallen off shelves in towns closest to the epicenter, Pechmann said, but the earthquake wasn't strong enough for significant structural damage.

"I'm sure that people felt it fairly strongly for at least a few seconds," he said.

Slye Gentle was working at Maverick at 102 S. Main in Soda Springs when he first felt the tremors. He was taking out garbage, he said, when the front doors and windows started "bouncing back and forth."

"I thought for a minute somebody slammed the door in the cooler, because that will make the windows vibrate a little bit," Gentle said. "But there's no way somebody could slam the door that hard."

Nothing fell off the shelves, he said, and the quake only lasted a few seconds.

"Made my legs jiggle a little bit," he said. "It was definitely weird."

The epicenter was approximately 11 miles from Soda Springs, according to the USGS. People reported feeling the shock in Idaho, Wyoming, and across northern Utah in Logan, Brigham City, Ogden, Salt Lake City, Draper and Provo, according to the U. seismograph stations.

Brigham Hatch said he was hanging out with his daughter in the kitchen in their home in Robin, Idaho, when he felt the earthquake. Hatch said it sounded like someone was pushing a couch across the floor upstairs.

"It was really, really fast. We felt a first shock, and the house kind of creaked," he said. "It wasn't dramatic, nothing fell off shelves. I didn't even realize it until after it was done."


Other people posted updates on Facebook, describing where they were during the quake.

"Felt it downtown Salt Lake City," Bill Mccamey posted on the Deseret News page. "We were just getting ready to watch a movie when everything started shaking for a few seconds."

"I thought somebody had come in my house and shook my chair. Definitely surreal," Jon Snider posted.

"(Two) words: earthquake insurance," Cathy Mangum posted.

Since 1962, 87 earthquakes with a magnitude of 3.0 or greater occurred near the epicenter of Saturday's earthquake. The last large earthquake in that area was on Oct. 13, 1982, which registered 4.7 magnitude, according to University of Utah Seismograph Stations.

The university invited anyone who felt the earthquake to fill out a survey at the U. Seismorgraph Stations website or at the U.S. Geological Survey website. Email:


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Ashley Stilson


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