Salt Lake City in Utah was hit by a magnitude 5.7 earthquake on Wednesday, March 19, causing the airport to be closed temporarily.
The quake hit just after 7:00am and was felt by around 2.8 million people. Its epicenter was just southwest of Salt Lake City, between the city’s international airport and the Great Salt Lake. There were no reports of injuries but operations at Salt Lake City International Airport came to a halt, with planes diverted and the control tower and concourses evacuated.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, far fewer people than usual were in the airport. On a normal travel day, there would be some 24,000 people in the building – on this occasion, however, there were closer to 9,000, making evacuation easier.
Following evacuation, an inspection of the airport facilities was carried out. No runway damage was found and most of the damage in the terminal appeared to be caused by a broken water line in Concourse D, reported Salt Lake City airport executive director Bill Wyatt.
Wednesday’s quake was the largest to hit the state since a 5.9 earthquake in 1992, according to Utah Emergency Management, part of the Utah Department of Public Safety.