New Mexico shaken by ‘historically unusual’ 3.8 magnitude earthquake

October 18, 2011SANTA FEA 3.8 magnitude earthquake “is unusual for this area, historically,” Richard Aster, a professor of Geophysics at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, wrote the New Mexican in an email Monday. “The present estimate of the epicenter is about half way between Santa Fe and Espanola. This is a large enough event that there may be felt aftershocks.” Monday’s temblor, at 3.8, is small compared to the earth-moving quakes recorded in Japan, California or other hot zones. But in New Mexico, 3.8 is a major event. There were the two earthquakes around Socorro in 1906, including one in November of that year that shook four chimneys and plaster off the Socorro County Courthouse and a cornice fell on the northwest corner of the two-story adobe Masonic Temple was thrown onto its first floor. More recently, there was a 5.0 quake 25 miles west of Raton and a 4.2 magnitude temblor on Dec. 19, 2005 near Carlsbad, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It appears the largest quake was a 5.1 trembler near Dulce in 1966. Elvira Garcia and Becky Romero of Nambe knew as soon as they heard their dishes and glasses tinkle and windows rattle Monday morning, they were experiencing something new. “We hear experimental explosions from the lab,” Romero said of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. “We hear sonic booms and crashes on (State Route) 503. But this was totally different. When things started shaking, that really frightened me. I could hear the dishes and glasses tinkling.” Garcia heard the rumble while she was on the telephone with her sister. “The cat ran across from one room to the other,” Garcia recalled late Monday morning. The shaking knocked a photograph and several knickknacks off shelves along with rattling her nerves. “I’ve been through the big floods in the arroyos with the pigs rolling down,” Garcia said. “But never have I felt something like that.” –Santa Fe NM
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5 Responses to New Mexico shaken by ‘historically unusual’ 3.8 magnitude earthquake

  1. Dennis E. says:

    Hm, I bet they were surprised. EQ’ s can happen anywhere anytime.


  2. Alvin – I wasn’t sure where to ask you this question. I was reading an article (blog?) about “Why the Lake Mead Earthquakes should give you nightmares”

    Read more:

    I don’t recall reading about it here, although it could have been on an earlier post. Just wanted to know your opinion and if this is also something to watch.



  3. Will Smith says:

    Yes… They can happen anytime… Especially when the frackers have been fracturing the shale.


  4. Jim says:

    I talked with a geologist in New Mexico about 10 years ago
    who said that magma is within 6 miles of the surface.
    The several Malpaso lava areas in New Mexico are only
    about 900 years old. Just because New Mexico has been
    relatively stable in the last 160 years of US rule, does not
    mean New Mexico is never going to move.


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