Utah quake knocks trumpet from Moroni statue's hand at Salt Lake Mormon temple

A group of Mormon women walk to Temple Square in an attempt to get tickets to the priesthood meeting at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints semi-annual gathering known as general conference in Salt Lake City, Utah April 5, 2014. | (Photo: Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

A 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Utah Wednesday morning shortly after 7 a.m., dislodging the trumpet from the hand of the statue of the angel Moroni sitting atop the iconic Mormon temple in its capital city.

Wednesday's quake, the largest since 1992 when a magnitude 5.9 temblor struck the St. George area of the western state, was centered approximately 10 miles of Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

A series of aftershocks transpired in the minutes that followed ranging from 2.5 to 3.9 on the Richter scale and are to be likely to continue throughout the day, the Utah Division of Emergency Management said. By 9:25 a.m. the USGS had recorded 27 earthquakes and aftershocks.

Reports indicate that multiple buildings sustained minimal damage, no injuries or deaths have been reported. Speaking before the press Wednesday, Governor Gary Herbert said that the state of Utah was "all in all, very fortunate."

Most notably, the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, which sits at the center of the city was impacted. The trumpet in the hand of statue of the angel Moroni — who Mormonism's founder, Joseph Smith, claims assisted him in the translation of golden plates that ultimately resulted in The Book of Mormon — was dislodged.

"The Salt Lake Temple, which is undergoing a seismic upgrade, sustained some minor damage during Wednesday morning's earthquake. The trumpet on the Angel Moroni statue fell off, and there is minor displacement of some of the temple's smaller spire stones. No workers were injured. Crews on the job site have been sent home for the day, and a full assessment is underway to determine needs going forward. This event emphasizes why this project is so necessary to preserve this historic building and create a safer environment for all our patrons and visitors," a spokesman for the church said Wednesday.

The Salt Lake Temple, which was dedicated in 1893, was the first temple topped with Angel Moroni, CNN reported; the copper and gold-leaf statue is 12-foot-5-inches tall on a ball atop a 210-foot central spire on the temple's east side.

Tremors registering as 4.4 magnitude that occurred near Magna, Utah, just after 8 a.m. was classified as a separate quake and not an aftershock of the stronger quake that struck about an hour earlier. Tens of thousands of Utahns lost power.

The earthquakes hit the state amid a global outbreak of the coronavirus, which has brought normal life to a halt in many places and has created widespread panic-buying of groceries and items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.

Gov. Herbert noted on Twitter that the state's coronavirus hotline as well as the department of health's laboratory were down after the quake.

Classes were canceled at the University of Utah.

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