A sudden temblor in Erda — the first earthquake with an epicenter in Tooele County since 1997 — has become the talk of the town since it shook up local residents on Saturday.
Though small — magnitude 3.2, according to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations — the earthquake’s proximity to Erda gave local residents a good jolt around 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
“It was quite impressive — it felt like my house had jumped two inches,” said Brad Dahl, an Erda resident who lives just southeast of the epicenter. “At the time, I didn’t think it was an earthquake. I thought something blew up.”
Outside Erda, residents in Tooele, Salt Lake, and Rush valleys reported feeling a more subdued shaking.
Earthquakes are not uncommon in the Tooele area, said Chris DuRoss, a geologist with the Utah Geological Survey. The state of Utah can have dozens of small earthquakes between magnitude 3.0 and 4.0 in any given year.
Still, he said, it has been some time since Tooele Valley residents felt one of those quakes. The last earthquake reportedly felt here was a 4.5 magnitude quake centered in the Tushar Mountains that occurred on Jan. 3, 2011.
The last earthquake Tooele County could claim as its own was a 3.3 magnitude quake that occurred on Sept. 17, 1997. The epicenter was located just five miles east of Tooele City.
“People should look at this as a reminder that we live in an area that does have earthquakes,” DuRoss said, “and should be prepared for a larger event.”