Natural disasters are not part of the normal Grand Valley culture, but still, I couldn't help but wonder which is more likely to occur in Grand Junction, an earthquake or a tornado.

Violent acts of Mother Nature are not common in the Grand Valley....maybe some strong winds, a little hail, some heavy rain on occasion, or maybe a little snow. Obviously, we don't worry about hurricanes and tropical storms, and we don't typically get terrible blizzards that drop 3 feet of snow on the ground, or have temperatures dipping to 20 below.

We also don't worry too much about an erupting volcano like those folks in Hawaii, which is actually what got me started thinking about this.

However, we are subject to an occasional earthquake or tornado - two of the most violent acts of nature possible. Granted, it doesn't happen often, but occasionally we do get a small taste of Mother Nature's fury.

According to Home Facts, there have been nine earthquakes in Mesa County since 1931. The strongest of these was a 3.7 magnitude quake in 1975 some nine miles from Fruita. Of those nine temblors, four were close to Palisade, and the closest to Grand Junction was in  1990 when a  2.5 quake was centered about 13 miles from Orchard Mesa.

The website indicates the probability of a 5.0 or greater magnitude earthquake in Mesa County in the next 50 years is 2.56%. In other words, it is highly unlikely.

As far as tornadoes are concerned, depending on the source, there have been eight or nine tornadoes reported in Mesa County since 1950. All of those have come within the last 20 years.

While it may not be a scientific and official conclusion, it would appear that the Grand Valley is more likely to suffer destruction at the hands of a tornado than an earthquake. However, I would encourage you to sleep in peace tonight because either event is highly unlikely in Grand Junction.

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