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Magnitude 5.5 earthquake hits southern Colorado

Magnitude 5.5 earthquake hits southern Colorado

August 23rd, 2011 in News

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) - A magnitude 5.3 earthquake shook southern Colorado late Monday, waking some people up and startling hundreds of others in a sparsely populated region near the New Mexico border.

The quake - the largest to strike Colorado in a decade - followed two smaller ones that hit the area earlier in the day: A magnitude 4.6 quake was felt at 5:30 p.m. and a magnitude 2.9 quake was recorded just before 8 a.m. The 5.3 earthquake was recorded at about 11:46 p.m. MDT Monday about five miles west of Cokedale, Colo., according to the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo.

The center is part of the U.S. Geological Service.

A Las Animas County Sheriff's Office dispatcher said she had received calls from "tons" of county residents who felt the shaking, as well as reports of rockslides along a highway following the quake. USGS geophysicist Jessica Sigala said the quake has the potential of causing minimal damage.

Another USGS geophysicist, Shengzao Chen, said the center had received calls from more than 70 people in Trinidad, Colo., who felt the shaking, as well as several dozen people in New Mexico. More than 30 people in Colorado Springs, about 130 miles from Cokedale, also reported feeling the quake, he said.

The last time the area received a series of earthquakes was in 2001, when about a dozen smaller-sized temblors were recorded, Chen said.

"The area seems to be active again," he said.