Socorro trembles with quake

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People started calling IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center investigator Richard Aster early Thursday morning to report a shaky feeling they had experienced.

“A lot of people called and said they felt it,” he said.

The earthquake, which happened at 7:15 a.m., was about a magnitude of 2, Aster said. It was also very shallow, coming from a depth near 5 kilometers. It was located 9.7 miles west of Socorro on Sedillo Plain, two miles northeast of Water Canyon Lodge.

“This is characteristic of the ongoing uplift of this part of the world,” he said. “When we get this every year or so, it reminds us we live in a geologically active area.”

Aster said the Socorro area has a magma body about 12 miles deep, and parts of Socorro County are uplifting at a rate of about 2 millimeters a year, which causes the earth to build up stress along areas of weakness called faults.

George Slad, a staff scientist and data specialist at the instrument center, was sitting in his chair at work when the quake occurred.

“I heard it first,” he said. “I heard a rumbling. Maybe like an L-train going past in Chicago.”

Slad started to look outside, but then he saw the walls shake a little and his chair rolled a little and he knew exactly what it was.

“Then I looked at our test stations and the data confirmed it,” Slad said. “It was exciting. I have lived and worked in Socorro on and off for 19 years and this was the first time I felt it.”