SEGUNDA, Colo. (CBS4) – A series of earthquakes were recorded in southern Colorado on Monday and Tuesday.
The last one was the strongest to hit the state in nearly 40 years. That one, a 5.3 magnitude quake, came just before midnight.
Thirteen other earthquakes were recorded by the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, including a 4.6 magnitude quake earlier Monday evening. They were centered just southeast of Trinidad in Las Animas County.
Madeline Duran lives in the southern Colorado town of Segunda and told the CBS4 Morning News her house was shaking.
“It felt like a freight train coming right through my house,” Duran said.
Duran said pictures and decorations were knocked off her wall and many broke. She said her garage has some broken glass and fishing poles were knocked over, but otherwise there’s no major damage.
Duran said she was just getting ready to go to bed and in her pajamas when the final quake hit. After that she was worried for her safety and says she slept out in her car.
The 5.3 earthquake also severely damaged a building that was constructed around the 1900s. One woman stood outside her house on Tuesday and wondered how it was still standing. The house actually shifted six inches during the quake.
“One more quake and it’s gone,” she said.
“Just everything started rambling and getting louder and louder and louder,” a store clerk told CBS4.
The quake caused rock slides along Highway 12, damaged walls inside homes and business, and toppled chimneys.
“It’s the most powerful one I’ve ever encountered. We’ve had tremors and light earthquakes over the years, but nothing of this magnitude, with this much damage,” said Gary Ringo, owner of Ringo’s Trading Post.
The quakes in Colorado and the East Coast have been keeping seismologists at the U.S. Geological Survey offices in Golden very busy. Additional staff came in to work the phones at the USGS as so many people called to find out what was happening both on the East Coast and in Colorado.
“It’s rare to have earthquakes in the eastern United States and obviously these earthquakes in Virginia happen infrequently, as do the earthquakes in Southern Colorado,” earthquake expert Gavin Hayes said. “They have occurred in the past, and there is no easy way to tell right now if they’re associated.”
Experts say aftershocks will be felt for weeks in both areas.