Thursday, February 20, 2014

Historic Earthquake in Pine Valley in 1902

One hundred twelve years ago, an earthquake of more than 6 on the Richter scale occurred in southern Utah.  The epicenter of the quake was in Pine Valley, and the effects were felt throughout Washington County.  The article below is from the Deseret Evening News, November 22, 1902.

Earthquake Capers
Rocks Are Rent From Mountain Side And All Nature Stirred

Special Correspondence.
Pine Valley, Washington Co., Nov. 17‹The earthquake that visited this region was the greatest sensation that the citizens here ever experienced. The severity of the first shock that came at 12:50 p.m. carried terror to most of the people. Women fainted while others gathered their sick children in their arms and fled out of their homes. One sister was just lighting a fire in her fire place when the bricks began to come down the chimney. In trying to get out of their houses the people were hit by the swaying doors and jambs. The last of six distinct shocks was felt at 1:20 p.m. The damage was done by the first shock which lasted just a minute by the watch. Clocks were stopped and ornaments shaken down and broken. The bricks falling from the meetinghouse chimney started Bishop Snow's team to run and he had all he could do to stop them, though he had the brake on and lines tied to the brake.
The air seemed filled with electricity and everybody felt its effects. Dust was seen to rise in the mountains, and those up the canyons saw great rocks weighing many tons torn from their place on the mountain sides and dashed down into the canyons below. In Grass valley not a great way from the head of the field, a great rock of several tons was rent from the mountain side, swept the pinion pine and cedar trees before it and nearly buried itself as it struck the level ground.
At Biglow's ranch, six miles above Gunlock, the shock was very heavy, 32 distinct shocks being felt. The first one they thought occurred about 12 noon, and they kept on at intervals until 10 p.m. Rocks were rent and rolled down from the precipices with a roar. The first shock was accompanied with a roar like the rushing of a heavy wind through the timber. No fatalities have as yet been heard of, but it was extremely dangerous to man and beast in the mountain passes, owing to the many rolling rocks. Poultry and domestic animals were also greatly frightened by the commotion.
[Deseret Evening News; November 22, 1902]

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