Yet another earthquake, Garfield County’s biggest in decade, hits Silt
January 30, 2017
Residents of Silt and New Castle may have felt their homes shake in the early afternoon Monday as a 3.3 magnitude earthquake hit 5 kilometers south of New Castle.
The earthquake, the largest to strike Garfield County in the past 10 years, was 5 kilometers in depth and was the Silt-New Castle area's second recorded earthquake since Christmas.
This comes a week after it was reported that a series of earthquakes, known as a swarm, hit the Marble area resulting in 11 earthquakes ranging from magnitude 1.1 to 2.8.
"It felt like a 300-pound person was running across my living room," said Silt resident Bob Koper.
He was asleep in front of the television when he was awakened as his whole house began to shake.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, seven people reported the earthquake Monday.
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After the 2.9 magnitude quake on Christmas Day at New Castle, citizen activist groups asked Colorado oil and gas regulators to analyze a recent earthquake near New Castle to determine whether nearby injection wells were a cause. High-volume injection wells used to dispose of water from fracking have been linked to dramatic increases in earthquakes in Oklahoma in recent years.
"It's probable that it's not induced by injection wells, but we want to make sure," said Leslie Robinson, chair of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance, which with the Battlement Concerned Citizens made the request of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
Julie Dutton, geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center, said Monday she doubts any connection.
"There are so few earthquakes there, it is difficult to make any kind of correlation," she said. "It's not something that we think is becoming more active. The area will and does have infrequent earthquakes."
At 3.3 on the Richter Scale, the earthquake is considered minor. Quakes of that magnitude can be felt felt by some people, but are not likely to cause damage.
An estimated 30,000 earthquakes occur each year worldwide with a magnitude of 2.5 to 5.4.