Quake-weary Utahns rattled again, mistake detonations at Tooele Army Depot for aftershocks

Tooele Army Depot. Photo: Depot Facebook page

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah, April 2, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — When the ground shook and windows rattled Thursday morning earthquake weary Utahns felt their hearts skip a beat. So, imagine their reaction when they learned the tremors weren’t due to aftershocks, but were the result of controlled blasts at the Tooele Army Depot.

“What exactly are you blowing up?” asked one frazzled Facebook follower. “My house felt like it was going to crumble in West Jordan! I would have brought rum if you had invited us!”

“With the earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks I feel like this is totally the wrong time for detonation testings,” said another resident. “My nerves can not handle much more of this … please give warnings and times so we can be prepared.”

The base did post a Facebook statement  Wednesday saying it was resuming its annual “open detonations” but it’s clear from reactions on social media a lot people didn’t get the word.

“Did all of the unstable munition blow up at once because my house in Bluffdale shook worse than the earthquakes,” asked one Facebook follower.

“Tooele Army Depot should NOT be detonating and moving our ground at this time! What about disturbing the earthquake faults? Don’t they know that even fracking can cause earthquakes?” asked another follower.

“PLEASE notify us of when (dates and times) and how many we expect to hear/feel!,” yet another poster said. “My children are still recovering after the earthquakes. They ran to hide under the table when we felt these. I understand these need to be done… but horrible timing!!”

According to the depot, the open detonations will take place throughout the summer and into fall between the ours of 11a.m. and 6 p.m., weather permitting.

“Open Detonation limits the handling of excess munitions and explosives, helping to protect local residents and employees from injury or damage due to explosive safety risks,” the depot said.

“The depot stores, issues, receives, renovates, modifies, maintains and demilitarizes conventional munitions. The TEAD-S is a US Army facility located approximately 15 miles south of Tooele, Utah. For more information, residents can call the Tooele Army Depot detonation hotline at 435-833-3300.”

About 50 other concerned residents shared comments within the first couple hours of the blast, which happened shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday. We have shared a few below:

  • “Sure would have been nice if the local news networks would have made more prominent announcements, since people are already on edge with earthquakes in the are.”
  • “We all have PTSD from the earthquakes, let alone Covid.”
  • “Excuse my ignorance, but why would they need to be doing this now?”
  • “My cats were afraid to walk just about anywhere in the house. They pancaked and just stood there with their ears flat looks SO terrified. :/ took me 10 minutes to calm them down, and it made me stress out even more.”
  • “Why is this allowed right now? It seems like horrible timing? What could be so important that we need to do these right now? More info would really calm my nerves.”
  • “Not the best timing. Mother earth just moved tectonic plates, so let’s start blowing up huge munitions 20 or so miles from that fault line. Who is the idiot that thought that was a good idea!!!”
  • “PLEASE QUIT THIS CAN WAIT!!!! You are adding to everyone’s already HIGH Anxiety!!”


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