Small earthquake measured in Routt County

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— A magnitude 2.4 earthquake hit Routt County at 10:12 p.m. Sunday.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake happened 11 miles west of Steamboat Springs at a depth of 0.6 miles.

An earthquake of magnitude 2 is the smallest typically felt by people, and a magnitude of 5 or more is potentially damaging, according to the USGS.

According to Twentymile Coal Co. spokeswoman Charlene Murdock, the tremor was not caused by activity at the underground coal mine, and it did not impact mining operations.

Earthquakes are not uncommon in the area and occasionally are related to mining activity, as was the case with a March 30, 2011, tremblor caused by the settling of a column of coal supporting the ceiling of a mine shaft.

The last earthquake strong enough to be felt by Routt County residents happened just before midnight Oct. 9, 2005. It had a magnitude of 2.2, but Steamboat residents were attuned to the earth shaking that night because just 10 days earlier, the valley was shaken by a magnitude 4.4 quake. The Sept. 30, 2005, quake prompted 180 calls to the county’s 911 center in the first hour after it shook buildings. Many people reported thinking a car had struck their homes. Before that quake, the last widely noticed earthquake was in February 2000.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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