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Brine well may have caused Colorado-Utah earthquake

Published January 25, 2013 1:00 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Grand Junction, Colo. • A federal agency says a minor earthquake in Colorado and Utah might have been caused by a high-pressure well that injects brine 16,000 feet into the earth.

Justyn Hock of the Bureau of Reclamation said Friday the well has caused hundreds of tiny quakes in the past. Officials are looking at whether it caused Wednesday's 3.9-magnitude quake, too.

The well is part of a project that removes excess salt from the Colorado and Dolores rivers. Officials say the project disposes of the salt by injecting into the earth in the form of brine.

Agency officials say the brine is forced into fissures that sometimes crack open wider under the pressure and cause earthquakes.

The possible link to Wednesday's quake was first reported in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

The quake's epicenter was believed to have been 15 miles east of LaSal, Utah, and 24 miles west of Nucla, Colo.