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Researchers track earthquakes across Colorado, warn of possible massive one

Researchers tracking massive earthquakes in Colorado
Researchers tracking massive earthquakes in Colorado 02:49

140 years ago, Colorado had its biggest earthquake ever with a magnitude of 6.6. Researchers say another massive earthquake could cost the state billions in repairs. 

With Colorado's biggest earthquake rocking across multiple states, it is unlikely that an earthquake of that magnitude would occur but researchers believe it could still happen today.


On average, Colorado could see 50 to 70 earthquakes a year with most being minimal. Researchers believe earthquake study is essential so they could pinpoint when the next massive one could happen. 

"What research has done is compiled all of our information and mapped it out," said Matt Morgan, Director of the Colorado Geological Survey. 

Morgan also studies with the Colorado School of Mines to get a better understanding of the extensive research. 

"Every year we've had earthquakes, we had about 50 so far this year," Morgan said. 

The latest earthquake reported occurred in Ridgeway on Sunday, according to researchers. 


The Colorado Geographical Survey collects data from nine seismometers across the state which notifies with live updates of ground movement. 

"It helps us understand the risks we face here in Colorado. We try to learn from the past to bring that into the future," Morgan said. 

Morgan often refers back to Colorado's biggest earthquake which was reported on Nov. 7 1882 on election night. 

"In Denver in the evening, there were reporters working at the Rocky Mountain News and they felt violent shaking while typing their stories up. In Grand Junction, people ran out of their houses," Morgan said. 

Researchers at Colorado Geographical Study researching earthquake signals.   CBS

According to researchers, a massive earthquake such as the one on election night 140 years ago could cost Colorado close to $30 billion in repairs.

"We do have damaging earthquakes here in Colorado," Morgan said. 

Community members in Colorado can also submit their own earthquake observations which is an important part of the research. The community is encouraged to submit their research to the Colorado Geological Survey. 

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