The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a moderate earthquake of magnitude 5.7 occurred at 7:09 a.m. on March 18, 2020 (MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located in the northwestern Salt Lake Valley, 3.1 mi N of Magna, Utah. This earthquake was widely felt throughout the Wasatch Front area of north-central Utah. It has been followed by numerous aftershocks, including 20 of magnitude 3.0 or larger during the first hour after the M 5.7 and two of magnitude 4.0 or larger. The largest aftershock so far was a M 4.6 event that occurred at 7:14 a.m.
There is no currently accepted scientific method for predicting the precise time, location, and magnitude of future earthquakes. Based on past earthquake sequences around the world there is a small, about one in 20, the chance of an earthquake larger than M 5.7 in the Salt Lake Valley area during the next week. Although it is possible that a larger earthquake in this area could be in the magnitude range of 7.0 to 7.5, the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the chance of an earthquake of this size is about one in 300.
Earthquakes of magnitude larger than 7.5 are unlikely to occur in Utah. A magnitude 9.0 earthquake is not possible in Utah.
Today’s earthquake was the largest earthquake to occur in Utah since a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in 1992 in southwestern Utah near St. George. Today’s earthquake occurred in a seismically active part of the Salt Lake Valley, where six magnitudes 3.0 or larger earthquakes have occurred since 1962. The largest of these events was a magnitude 5.2 on Sept. 5, 1962, 0.8 mi NE of Magna, Utah.
Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form on the U.S. Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.
Find a media briefing including Keith Koper, director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations and Bob Carey, response and recovery bureau chief for the Utah Division of Emergency Management, here.