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USGS: Earthquake near Fountain ‘wasn’t real’

The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude-3.0 earthquake reported early Monday near Fountain didn’t actually happen.

“It turns out that wasn’t real,” said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center in Golden.

He said the earthquake report was the result of a faulty sensor and a newer geologic analyst.

“Sometimes the computer (messes up) and he didn’t recognize that,” Blakeman said.

The USGS said the sensor was likely triggered by a series of temblors in south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma.

Related: State official links earthquakes to disposal of waste

The USGS initially reported that a 3.0-magnitude quake was centered 12 miles southeast of Fountain.

Although quakes rock southern Colorado, most are minor and do not cause damage. In recent years, most quakes in the region have been reported near Trinidad.

On Aug. 22, 2011, for example, a magnitude-5.3 quake hit; it was the strongest in Colorado in decades.

It had at least 100 times more ground movement than Monday’s quake, and it released more than 900 times as much energy, Blakeman said.

A few homes were damaged that day and rockslides were reported along a highway in Las Animas County.

Tremors could be felt across the Front Range, and dozens of people near The Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs told the USGS they felt the quake.

USGS researchers later found that oil and gas operators using a process known as waste water injection — a drilling procedure that disposes of water released during hydraulic fracturing — led to the 2011 quake.


This article was written by Jakob Rodgers from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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