A magnitude 4.1 earthquake struck northern New Mexico west of Raton early this morning and was felt as far away as Trinidad, Colorado. The U.S. Geological Survey says that the temblor’s epicenter was 16 miles west of Raton and originated 3.1 miles underground.
No damage from the quake that occurred at 1:41am on Monday morning has been reported. While a magnitude 4.1 quake is not a major quake, had it struck in a more densely populated area it would have been sufficient to knock items off of shelves.
While normally not particularly active, there are approximately 100 potentially active faults in Colorado and more than 400 temblors of magnitude 2.5 have occurred in the state since 1870. The state’s largest quake occurred on November 7, 1882 along the northern Front Range and measured 6.5 on the Richter Scale.
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According to the Colorado Division of Emergency Management, the costliest quake was a 5.3 magnitude temblor that occurred on August 9, 1967 and was centered near Commerce City. The quake caused more than $1 million worth of damage and is thought to have been caused by the injection of liquid waste into the earth at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal.
The Sangre de Christo Fault, near which the quake occurred, is located in the mountain range for which it is named and runs more than 110 miles from the New Mexico border north into Colorado. In 2001 an earthquake “swarm” shook the area near Trinidad on the fault. During that event, from August 28 and September 21 of that year, 12 earthquakes of magnitude 2.8 to 4.6 struck just west of the southern Colorado city in the same area as Monday’s quake.
In October of this past year, magnitude 4.1 and magnitude 3.5 quakes struck not far from this morning’s quake. Prior to that, in August, three quakes in four days struck, one in southeastern Colorado and two in the northwestern part of the state.