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Early morning earthquake rattles Bluffdale residents

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BLUFFDALE — A 3.1-magnitude earthquake rattled at least 2,000 residents in and around Bluffdale early Saturday.

The 2:31 a.m. quake is the 106th to shake the area since Feb. 13, according to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. The largest of those reached magnitude 3.7, and about 90 of them have been classified as aftershocks.

The quakes have caused minimal damage throughout the city, and, according to seismologist Paul Roberson, an earthquake would have to reach a magnitude of 6.0 to 6.5 to break the surface enough to determine which fault line it is on. He said there are unnamed fault lines all over the state.

It is not necessarily a sign of things to come, Roberson said.

"Every earthquake that occurs has a small, roughly 1 in 20 chance of being a foreshock to a larger earthquake within five days," he wrote in a report about the cluster of Bluffdale quakes. "The probability of a larger earthquake decreases with increasing magnitude difference" in each quake.

The recent string of quakes is also not uncommon, the U. reports. The facility, located at the U. in Salt Lake City, records seismic activity every day in Utah. Unfortunately, it reports, even recurrent small earthquakes don't relieve enough pressure in the earth to reduce the likelihood of a larger one.

"The recent earthquakes near Bluffdale serve as a reminder that Utah is earthquake country and a large, damaging earthquake could occur at any time," Roberson said. "Therefore, everyone living in Utah should strive to be prepared for large earthquakes."

The United States Geological Survey also tracks seismic activity and has recorded 241 earthquakes in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho in February alone, most of them across Utah.

For more information, or to report an earthquake, visit quake.utah.edu.

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Wendy Leonard

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