Colorado Shaken By Largest Earthquake in 38 Years

 
on August 23 2011 7:27 AM

Colorado was jolted by a 5.3 magnitude earthquake on Monday. The earthquake, which struck at 11.46 p.m. local time, is the largest since 1973 when the state was struck by a 5.7-magnitude quake.

The latest earthquake was recorded at 9 miles southwest of Trinidad, Colorado, 19 miles northwest of Raton, New Mexico and 182 miles of Denver, Colorado, according to the National Earthquake Information Center.

No injuries have been reported but State officials said that a number of homes around the epicentre have suffered minor structural damage. The earthquake was followed by an aftershock of 3.2 magnitude.

Earthquakes everywhere occur on faults within bedrock, usually miles deep. Most of the region's bedrock was formed as several generations of mountains rose and were eroded down again over the last billion or so years, according to United States Geological Survey (USGS).

Colorado is considered a region of minor earthquake activity, the agency said. The northwestern and southwestern corners, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the south-central section of the State, have had no activity in historic times.

Eastern Colorado is nearly aseismic, with just a few epicenters in the Arkansas and Platte River Valleys. Most shocks in the history of this State have centered west of the Rocky Mountain Front Range.

According to USGS, Colorado experienced its largest earthquake in 1882. The 1882 earthquake, which had an estimated magnitude of 6.6 on the Richter scale, occurred during the peak of Colorado's mining era, before recording seismometers were invented.

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