Earthquakes Rock Colorado and Virginia, Quake Numbers on the Rise

The east coast was not the only part of the U.S. to feel some tectonic movement as Colorado had the biggest earthquake in nearly 40 years last night, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

The epicenter of the earthquake was 180 miles away from Denver in the town of Cokedale and had a magnitude of 5.3. No deaths or injuries were reported.

Earthquakes in Colorado are common, but on a much smaller scale than the one yesterday. In a typical year, the rocky mountain state experiences 15 to 25 smaller quakes of 2 to 3 magnitude, according to Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center, in an interview with the Colorado Springs Gazette.

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However, because Colorado does not sit on any tectonic plate boundaries like California, large earthquakes rarely happen.

According to Amy Vaughn, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Service, the last earthquake above a 5.0 magnitude was in 1973, when a 5.7 tremor hit the area near Grand Junction.

The quaking continued in Colorado a few hours later when a 2.6 magnitude earthquake hit the area near the Colorado-New Mexico border. The USGS said it was the 10th quake recorded in Colorado since Monday.

With the earthquake in Virginia shocking residents all the way from Atlanta to Toronto, Tuesday has been a “moving” day for the U.S.

According to the USGS, earthquakes in the United States have been on the rise. Last year, the number of earthquakes nearly doubled from 4,262 in 2009 to 8,493 in 2010. This year, there have been nearly 3,000 quakes so far, with the majority in the 2.0 to 2.9 range.

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