5.7-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Utah, Leaving At Least 45K People Without Power

Aaron Homer

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake has struck just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, leaving tens of thousands of people without power, CNN reports.

The earthquake, which couldn't have come at a worse time for the metropolitan area of about 1 million people, struck as the city, like so many other American cities, is trying valiantly to stem the tide of the spreading coronavirus.

At 7:09 a.m. local time (9:09 a.m. Eastern time) Wednesday, the quake struck about 10 miles from the city center, near the town of Magna.

"I know the last thing we need right now is an earthquake, but here we are, and it sounds like aftershocks are likely," Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said.

Indeed, aftershocks have already occurred. A 3.7-magnitude aftershock hit about 7:15 a.m., according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), and a 3.5-magnitude aftershock hit not long after that. As of 7:30 a.m. local time, at least 10 aftershocks had hit, ranging in magnitude from 2.5 to 3.9, according to the USGS.

Across the region, crews are on the ground assessing the damage.

As the city's KSL-TV reports, the Mormon Temple, a major tourist attraction as well as a place of great spiritual significance for the state's Mormon population, was slightly damaged, even as it was undergoing renovations to protect it against earthquakes. The building's famed gold statue of the angel Moroni lost its trumpet.

This is the region's worst earthquake since 1992, when a 5.8-magnitude quake struck near the city of St. George.

This is a developing story. More information about the Salt Lake City earthquake will be provided as it becomes available.