Minor Earthquake Strikes Southwestern Utah, 150 Miles

August 20, 2007

A minor 3.9 magnitude earthquake early Saturday shook southwestern Utah, 150 miles from the collapsed coal mine where six men are missing.

The quake hit in a remote area and was unlikely to have caused any damage, said Relu Burlacu, a seismologist with the University of Utah. Burlacu said there are several faults in the area, and it was not immediately clear which one was involved.

The epicenter near Minersville was about 150 miles southwest of Huntington, where the Crandall Canyon Mine collapsed on Aug. 6, trapping six miners.

Coincidentally, a 3.9 magnitude seismic event occurred near Huntington on the morning of the mine collapse. The mine’s co-owner, Bob Murray, believes that was a natural earthquake, but seismologists contend it was produced by the mine collapse itself. Another collapse at the mine Thursday killed three rescue workers.

Eight quakes of magnitude 3 or higher have occurred since 1962 within 15 miles of the epicenter of Saturday’s tremor.

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