BOUNTIFUL — A 3.3-magnitude earthquake startled many residents along the Wasatch Front Wednesday night.
The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reported the quake happened at 10:34 p.m. and hit about 10 miles east of Bountiful, at a hypocentral depth of about 7 miles.
There have since been about five aftershocks, and they all have been very small — four below magnitude 1, and one registered at a 1 magnitude.
As far as quakes go, this wasn’t the big one.
“A magnitude-3 quake is a common-sized earthquake for Utah,” University of Utah research seismologist Katherine Whidden said. “We have about eight magnitude 3s per year in Utah.”
She said the only unusual thing about this quake was that it happened near a very populated area, so many people felt it. No injuries or damage was reported from this one.
On the university’s website, there's a "Did You Feel It" tab that asks people to send in their location information and describe what they felt. About 3,000 people responded. Some said they felt a jolt. Others said it lasted up to 10 seconds.
Their location information produced a map, showing the quake was felt from Brigham City to south of Provo, from northeastern Utah to Tooele County.
Seismologists say chances are slim that last night's quake signals that a bigger one is imminent.
“In Utah there's about a 5 percent chance, or one in 20 chance that a small earthquake will lead to a bigger one,” Whidden said. “So it does slightly increase the chance that we could have a bigger earthquake.”
And, as usual, these small quakes get people thinking about being better prepared for an emergency.
The Emergency Essentials store in Bountiful had a spike in business Thursday with five times more customers than on a typical day.
“They try to cover the main areas you’re going to need (in an emergency kit),” store manager Dawn Kaufman said. “You’re going to (need) food and water, some kind of protection. Those items include things like a poncho, an emergency blanket, an emergency sleeping bag, whistles, small first aid kits, some form of light such as a light stick or a headlamp, hand warmers, etc.
Kaufman said people were buying a variety of items, not just for their homes, but also for their cars and businesses.
“They want advice, and they want to try to cover all their bases,” Kaufman said. “Instead of just focusing on one thing, they want to get a little of everything so they are more confident that they can get through a certain period of time.”