Minor earthquake felt near Socorro, Oct. 31, 2005

Geophysics Students

by George Zamora

Geophysics students Kyle Jones, Jana Stankova, Tara Mayeau, and John Morton take a break between shattering blasts of Socorro earthquakes. The student team coordinated much of the scientific response to Saturday's event.

SOCORRO, N.M., Oct. 31, 2005 – A minor earthquake occurred this past Saturday night, October 29, near Socorro, measuring at magnitude 2.4 at 8:57 p.m.

Seismologists at New Mexico Tech in Socorro recorded the earthquake activity on the university's array of seismic stations, and determined that the epicenter was located about 3.5 miles west of Socorro.

New Mexico Tech Campus Police fielded felt reports about the tremor from several Socorro residents, including students who live in resident halls on the university campus.

"The quake had a depth of approximately 4.6 miles,” said Rick Aster, a geophysics professor at New Mexico Tech. "Earthquakes of this magnitude are rarely felt; however, there were numerous felt reports from Socorro residents due to the quake’s shallowness and proximity to the city."

The Socorro region is historically the most seismically active portion of New Mexico, largely due to the presence of a mid-crustal magma body located about 12 miles beneath the Rio Grande rift.