An earthquake registering 5.7 on the Richter scale struck the Wasatch Front at 7:09 a.m. Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
The quake was centered 4 miles northeast of Magna, data from the University of Utah Seismograph Stations showed. A quake intensity map showed the quake could be felt as far as near the Idaho border to the north and Price to the south.
There were no reports of injuries in the hours immediately after the quake, Utah Emergency Management spokesman Joe Dougherty said.
According to tweets from Utah’s Division of Emergency Management, it was the largest earthquake to hit Utah since a 5.9 quake struck St. George in 1992.
The USGS reported more than 40 aftershocks related to the big quake, the largest a 4.6 that hit at 1:12 p.m.
The Weber School District announced shortly after the quake occurred that all of its schools would be closed Wednesday and lunch was canceled while potential earthquake damage was assessed.
The Ogden School District also closed schools and suspended services for the day after initially sending a message to parents and students asking them to delay coming to schools until further notice so as to assess building safety. Wednesday was scheduled to be the first day parents and students could pick up work-from-home materials after classes statewide were dismissed last week.
A message posted on the Davis School District’s website asked families to be understanding if needs weren’t met Wednesday. More than two hours after the quake, the district closed schools and all facilities.
None of the districts reported significant structural damage. All three are tentatively planning on opening Thursday to facilitate their remote learning instruction that’s in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Weber County Emergency Management said Ogden Canyon was open, and the Davis County Sheriff’s Office said there were no major damage reports in the county.
Rocky Mountain Power reported more than 74,000 customers were without power in the Salt Lake area as of 8:45 a.m. By 1 p.m. the number of customers without power was 10,000 according to RMP.
The tremor also affected the Utah COVID-19 information line, which was taken down while the call center was evacuated, the Utah Department of Health announced.
Additionally, the earthquake forced the closure of the Utah Public Health Laboratory, which has been processing COVID-19 tests.
According to a Utah Department of Health press release, “There were no samples being tested at the time of the earthquake. Additionally, no samples or laboratory equipment were damaged during the earthquake. Other commercial laboratories in Utah ARE currently operational and are processing COVID-19 tests.”
The Salt Lake City International Airport closed while damage assessments were conducted. The concourses, terminals and traffic control tower were evacuated. But operations resumed by 3 p.m.
Far fewer people than normal were in the airport because of mass cancellations caused by the coronavirus outbreak. On a typical travel day, the airport would have had about 24,000 people inside it and more making connections.
But there were just 9,000 there, said the airport’s executive director, Bill Wyatt, making an evacuation of the terminal easier.
No runway damage was found following the inspection and most of the damage in the terminal appeared to be caused by a broken water line.
Flights coming into Salt Lake City were diverted to places such as Denver and Las Vegas.
Gov. Gary Herbert’s office urged people to stay out of the Salt Lake City downtown area while damage is assessed.
There were some reports of damage in Salt Lake City and in the communities of Magna and Kearns, but authorities said they did not expect it to be severe. The quake sent bricks showering from a homeless shelter onto the sidewalk below.
The quake also caused a chemical spill at the Kenecott copper mining facility in Salt Lake County, prompting Herbert to call in the Utah National Guard.
The spill consisted of 8,200 gallons of hydrochloric acid, according to officials, who claimed the spill posed no threat to the general public despite a large plume coming from the spill.
In downtown Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Temple sustained minor damage, with the trumpet falling from the Angel Moroni statue at the top of the temple and stones displaced from a spire.
The temple is undergoing renovations and a seismic upgrade. Construction crews have been sent home while the damage is being assessed, church spokesman Daniel Woodruff said in a statement.
At Weber State University, officials said a surveys of all the campus buildings revealed no damage.
Layton City reported major institutions such as hospitals were not significantly affected.
Utah Transit Authority reported that due to damage spotted on the line between Salt Lake Central and Murray, FrontRunner trains were halted and unable to proceed between the two stations for a short time.
FrontRunner trains traveled at restricted speeds the remainder of the day. The TRAX light rail system in Salt Lake City was halted for several hours after the earthquake.
Reports of natural gas leaks were up in the hours after the quake, Dominion Energy spokesman Don Porter said, but no major breaks apparently occurred.
“The only ones I am aware of are in individual residences or businesses,” Porter said.
He said people should only turn off their gas meters if they have structural damage or smell or hear gas leaking.
If gas is smelled, evacuate immediately and don’t use light switches or phones in the area of the leak, Porter said.
Gas leaks can be reported to Dominion at 800-767-1689.
Information from Standard-Examiner’s Brett Hein and The Associated Press was included in this report.