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1902 Earthquake

(The Free Lance, 21 November 1902)

(By Josiah F. Gibbs, Newspaper Editor and Geologist)

Yes, we felt the earthquake last Monday about 12:50 p.m. The shock lasted about 30 seconds -- some say five minutes.

Last Monday at about 12:50 p.m., a slight earth tremour passed through Marysvale. On Wednesday evening two Marysvale citizens were returning from Sevier canyon in a buggy, and when nearly on the summit of the Taylor butte--an old volcanic production, a distinct shock was felt.

The Salt Lake papers give accounts of hard shakes down in St. George and vicinity where much damage was done. The Tribune of yesterday reports volcanic ashes on window glass and sills, and states that it may have come from a volcano in southern Utah. The idea is untenable, there is no spot so isolated in southern Utah that an active volcano would not be instantly noticed.

The following is from the Salt Lake Herald:

"Dr. D.A. Turner of Milford, Beaver county, said yesterday that Mount Baldy, in that county, is in a semistate of eruption. The explosions, accompanied by showers of ashes, can be heard twenty miles away. Occasionally great plumes of smoke arise from the old crater, and the rumblings of the earth are little short of terrifying.

"Mount Baldy is about 12,000 feet high. Scientists have always maintained that in times gone by it was an active volcano. Dr. Turner thinks that new lava is present in the crater and that the rocks on the inside are quite hot."

Dr. Turner is mistaken. Mt. Baldy is NOT in a state of "semi" or any other kind of eruption. "The explosions" cannot be heard by placing your ear on the side of Old Baldy's weakest spot. No ashes have emerged from Baldy's top or sides for at least one million years. No "great plumes of smoke" (nor little "plumes") are "arising from the old crater."

The "rumblings" and "explosions" are probably the reports of blasts in the Annie Laurie mine, some three miles distant from Mt. Baldy and fully forty miles from Milford. There is no old "lava" in Mt. Baldy's crater and the "new lava" cannot be "quite hot" because Mt. Baldy doesn't own a crater.

Copyright 2006 by Ardis E. Parshall

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