Small quake shakes Aspen into new year |

Small quake shakes Aspen into new year

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Some Aspenites felt the new year get off to a shaky start when a 2.9 magnitude “microearthquake” rumbled 11 miles north of Gunnison around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“I was reading in bed, and the house cranked,” said Sara Garton, a proofreader at The Aspen Times who lives in Midland Park in Aspen. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, some drunk has driven through the parking lot and hit the house.’ It was the same sensation as a big truck hitting the building. I really felt the house move.”

Garton said it felt similar to the earthquake she felt in Aspen on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2002, which was a magnitude 2.8 quake. She remembers watching a movie at Stage 3 and thinking a truck had backed up in the alley and hit the theater.

Yesterday’s earthquake was recorded by the U.S. Geological Survey as occurring in a location 11 miles north-northeast of Gunnison and 14 miles south-southeast of Crested Butte, which would put it about 25 miles away from Aspen.

The USGS gave the coordinates for the earthquake as 38 degrees, 41.5 minutes north, 106 degrees, 50.4 minutes west. It happened at 12:43:43 a.m.

Aspen was not alone in bringing in the new year with a shake. Also on Wednesday, there was a magnitude 5.1 quake in the Aleutian Islands, a 4.7 quake in northern Algeria, and a 3.4 quake registered near the Channel Islands off the coast of California.

Large earthquakes are rare in Colorado but smaller tremors are not uncommon on the Western Slope.

According to the USGS, a quake in September 1944 knocked bricks from chimneys and walls in Basalt.

In January 1971, a minor 3.8 earthquake was felt in Glenwood Springs but caused only minor damage.

In 1984, hundreds of small quakes were located about five miles south of Carbondale, with the largest being a magnitude 3.1 quake.

In April and May of 1986, two quakes near Aspen shook town. One was a magnitude 2.9 quake about 15 miles southwest of Aspen and another was a 2.7 quake located 25 miles southwest of town.

More quakes shook town in August 1986, with the largest being a magnitude 3.4 quake that was felt in both Aspen and Crested Butte.

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