ASPEN
Earthquake ID:  4 Date: 09/17/1880
Intensity:  VI
Time: 7:00 AM
Magnitude:  
Earthquake Depth:   (kM)
Magnitude USGS:  
Latitude: 39.2
Magnitude Other:   Longitude: -106.7
 
Earthquake Information:
The only available reference to the September 17, 1880 earthquake that shook Aspen was an article in the Leadville Chronicle which was reprinted in The Denver Tribune on September 21, 1880 (p. 2, c. 1). Unfortunately, no copies of the Aspen newspapers or the Leadville Chronicle for this time period have been located. The earthquake occurred at midnight on the 16th [local time] and brought many of the residents out of their homes. As they left their homes a second tremor “loosened their teeth and dislocated their locomotion” and “threw the camp into the wildest confusion”. There were a total of four shocks, separated by intervals of about thirty seconds. During each shock “the earth seemed moved three or four feet out of place, and a low rumbling noise to be compared to nothing save the rolling of distant thunder, was heard”. At about 8 o’clock the following morning a large landslide or rockslide on Aspen Mountain was reported. Rizzari (1959) discredited this account based on conversations with Don and Jean Griswald, Colorado historians. The Griswalds indicate that the author of the article, Mr. Orth Stein, was prone to exaggeration or even fabrication. Hadsell (1968) rated the event at intensity VI. For complete discussions of this earthquake, please refer to Rizzari (1959) and Oaks and Kirkham (1986). It is interesting to note that an earthquake was also reported in Salt Lake City at 10:27 p.m. on the 16th (Coffman, von Hake, and Stover, 1982; Oaks and Kirkham, 1986). The report from Aspen might possibly be associated with the Salt Lake City event, but since the times of the reports are somewhat different it is more likely that the report from Aspen represents a local earthquake.
 
References:
45 - Hadsel, F.A., 1968, History of earthquake activity in Colorado, in Hollister, J.C., and Weimer, R.J., eds., Geophysical and geological studies of the relationship between the Denver earthquakes and the Rocky Mountain Arsenal well: Colorado School of Mines Quarterly, v. 63, no. 1, p. 57-72.
83 - Oaks, S.D., and Kirkham, R.M., 1986, Results of a search for felt reports for selected Colorado earthquakes: Colorado Geological Survey Information Series 23, 89 p.
90 - Rizzari, F.B., 1951, It CAN’ T happen here: A brief history of earthquakes in Colorado: The Denver Westerner’s Monthly Roundup, v. 15, no. 12, p. 5-15.