SLC Evacuated After Earthquake (Updated)


The air traffic control tower, terminals and concourses at Utah’s Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) were evacuated following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that occurred shortly after 7 a.m. local time on Wednesday morning. The FAA issued a ground stop at the airport and all inbound aircraft were diverted. The airport remained closed for most of the morning with all air traffic in the area being handled by the Salt Lake Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC).

According to the FAA, the SLC tower facility will not be used until a thorough structural assessment has been completed. Controllers are currently working “with limited capability” from an airport ramp tower. The FAA is transporting a mobile tower to the site, which is expected to arrive on Wednesday evening. Salt Lake City Terminal Radar Approach Control is temporarily operating from the Salt Lake ARTCC.

Airport authorities announced shortly before noon that general aviation and cargo flights would be allowed to arrive and depart. Commercial flights resumed at 2:54 p.m.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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    • I felt it about 45 miles from the epicenter. It made my roof creak and shook my workbench. The TRACON was shut down later in the day. I could not get anyone on the approach freq, no radar service for me. I’m curious about what the status of the Bravo is when nobody is there to give me a clearance.

  1. A 5.7 will rattle things pretty well, even if it does not cause major damage. It also depends on where the epicenter was located and what type of waves moved through the city. Unfortunately the Salt Lake basin is exposed to a major fault line along the Wasatch Range, which is capable of a 7.5+ event, so they could be due for a larger quake in the near future. Hope not.