A 5.7-magnitude earthquake shook Utah last week dislodging the trumpet from the hand of the statue of the angel Moroni sitting atop the iconic Mormon temple in its capital city. The quake, the largest since 1992 when a magnitude 5.9 temblor struck the western state, was centred approximately 10 miles from Salt Lake City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). A series of aftershocks followed ranging from 2.5 to 3.9 on the Richter scale and are to be likely to continue for several days. The USGS has recorded 27 earthquakes and aftershocks since the original quake. Reports indicate that multiple buildings sustained minimal damage, no injuries or deaths have been reported.
Speaking to the press Governor Gary Herbert said that the state of Utah was “all in all, very fortunate.” The trumpet in the hand of the statue of the angel Moroni, who Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, claims assisted him in the translation of golden plates that ultimately resulted in The Book of Mormon, was dislodged. The Salt Lake Temple, which is undergoing a seismic upgrade, sustained some minor damage during the earthquake. No workers were injured. Crews on the job site were sent home for the day, and a full assessment is underway to determine needs going forward. The Salt Lake Temple, which was dedicated in 1893, was the first temple topped with Angel Moroni.
The copper and gold-leaf statue is 12-foot-5-inches tall on a ball atop a 210-foot central spire on the temple’s east side. Another tremor registering 4.4 magnitude that occurred near Magna, Utah, was classified as a separate quake and not an aftershock of the stronger quake that struck about an hour earlier. Tens of thousands of Utahns lost power. The earthquakes hit the state amid a global outbreak of the coronavirus, which has brought normal life to a halt in many places and has created widespread panic-buying of groceries and items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
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