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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: 1882 Colorado Earthquake

Earthquakes in Colorado?  Yes, earthquakes are certainly possible in Colorado, and on November 7, 1882, Colorado was hit by an earthquake thought to be centered in the northern Front Range.  A century later, in 1986, the Colorado Geological Survey published a report, An Interpretation of the November 7, 1882 Colorado Earthquake by Robert M. Kirkham and William P. Rogers.  The report stated that “this earthquake was probably the largest to occur in Colorado during the period of historic record.  A similar-sized event today could have significant impact on modern structures, possibly causing serious property damage and perhaps injury or death.”  The report analyzes the historic writings of the time, including newspaper articles, to get an idea of the intensity of the earthquake.  It speculates on how the event was covered in the press — or not.  Finally, the report draws conclusions about the earthquake’s causes.

You can find more resources on Colorado earthquakes by searching our library’s web catalog

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Earthquakes in Colorado

Last night southwestern Colorado was shaken by a magnitude 5.3 earthquake centered 9 miles southwest of Trinidad. Large earthquakes are not frequently experienced here in the Rocky Mountains, but low magnitude quakes are fairly common. The Colorado Geological Survey maintains a database called the Colorado Earthquake Mapserver which contains information on all of the cataloged earthquakes in Colorado, and also shows the faultlines that run through the state. The CGS also has an earthquake website with basic information on Colorado quakes, including case histories, maps and facts about earthquake damage ratings. Facts about last night’s earthquake can be found on the U.S. Geological Survey’s website. They also have an interesting history of Colorado earthquakes that is worth checking out.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Earthquakes

Did you know that more than 500 earthquakes have occurred in Colorado since 1867? Although our state has not been prone to big quakes like the ones that recently hit Chile and Haiti, we do have about 90 potentially active faults. An interactive map of Colorado earthquakes is available through the Colorado Geological Survey. The map server contains information on individual seismic events, including date, time, magnitude, location and depth of the event when you mouse over one of the earthquake symbols. The Geological Survey also has general information and publications on earthquakes that can be accessed from their Earthquake website.

Another good source of information is the Colorado Earthquake Information site from the Colorado Division of Emergency Management. There are tips on how to be prepared for an earthquake, and a table of past Colorado earthquakes.

A number of studies and reports are also available from our collection at the State Publications Library. Search for “earthquakes” in our online catalog for a list of titles.

Categories
Colorado State Publications Blog

Earthquakes in Colorado?

Although Colorado is not in the top 10 earthquake states as reported on page 2 of Prepared: Emergency Management News, Coloradans may have a false sense of security when it comes to earthquakes. Colorado has had more than 500 recorded earthquakes since 1867 with one of M 6.6 in 1882. More occurred but were not recorded due to sparse population and limited instrumental coverage. Even today there have been far fewer research efforts in Colorado than in many other states. Our library has cataloged publications from Colorado Geologic Survey and the Office of Emergency Management on this topic. A sampling –

Colorado Earthquake Hazards, 1999
We Don’t have Earthquakes in Colorado, Do We? 2002
Colorado Earthquake Map Server
Published Faults of the Colorado Front Range, 2003
State of Colorado Five-Year Earthquake and Related Hazards Plan, 1999
Colorado Earthquake Information 1867-1996

These and other titles on the subject can be borrowed from our library.