Earthquake shakes lower Eagle Valley, based near Gypsum early Monday | AspenTimes.com

Earthquake shakes lower Eagle Valley, based near Gypsum early Monday

Pam Boyd
Vail Daily
This map from the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center shows the area where this morning's incident was felt.

Tuesday morning, some downvalley residents thought a tree branch had fallen on their roof. Others thought their children were rough-housing upstairs.

But after social media users started reporting the same incident, they realized the shaking boom that happened as they were getting ready for work was actually an earthquake.

A 2.7 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 5 kilometers rumbled the lower Eagle Valley at 7:31 a.m Tuesday, according to officials from the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center in Golden. The epicenter was roughly three miles southeast of Gypsum.

“It’s nothing that should have caused any damage, but I do think it probably caught the attention of the people in the area,” said Amy Vaughan of the USGS National Earthquake Information Center.

She said the center had received a number of reports about the earthquake from people in the Eagle/Gypsum area. Incident information was posted on the USGS website.

Unusual experience

According to Jessica Turner of the National Earthquake Center, Colorado isn’t very earthquake-prone. She said that from Jan. 1, 2018 to today, there were a total of 201 earthquakes in Colorado.

“Most of them have been very small and weren’t probably felt,” said Turner. “Mainly we see stuff along the New Mexico border, in the Trinidad area.”

In comparison, the California/Nevada area, which is affected by the San Andres fault, recorded 150 earthquakes in a single day Monday.

“We don’t have an active fault here in Colorado,” Turner explained. “We don’t have plate boundary here in Colorado and we are sitting right in the middle of the North American plate.”

Colorado earthquakes, such as the one that hit the lower Eagle Valley Tuesday, are caused by shifts in the earth’s crust, Turner said. “That minimal movement causes some stress in the earth’s crust and that’s mainly where these small quakes are from.”

But because earthquakes are so rare in Colorado, residents definitely notice when they happen.

“A lot of people think, ‘Did something just hit my building’ or ‘Is that a big semi driving by?’” Turner said. “Any earthquake that is felt in Colorado will be interesting, at the very least.”

Local reaction

When the Daily posted information about the earthquake to its website Tuesday, a number of local residents shared what they experienced. The impact was more of a jolt than a rumble, with people reporting a loud boom followed by brief shakes.

“A couple of years ago, a big willow branch fell on our roof. This sounded like that,” said Gypsum resident Carol Warner.

“I thought it was my 13-year-old pounding up the stairs and told him that he was loud and shaking the whole house,” wrote Krist Welter. “I will have to tell him when he gets out of school that it wasn’t him, it was an earthquake.”

The National Earthquake Information Center welcomes anyone who felt the quake to share information about the incident. Visit the “Felt it, tell us” tab at the center website at the earthquake center website.


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