A study by the Utah Geologic Survey has confirmed that land subsidence and earth fissures in Cedar Valley have been caused by long-term aquifer pumping in excess of water recharge and during a meeting Thursday a final report from the UGS will be provided.

The regular meeting of the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District will also include a report on recent water wise conservation projects by Candice Schaible, USU Extension and CICWCD employee, and reports from CICWCD board members about the Lake Powell Pipeline, the West Desert water filings, and Coal Creek recharge plans.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Heritage Center.

William Lund and Tyler Knudsen will speak about the UGS study. The study is also available on the CICWCD website, It documented subsidence, or the sinking of the ground because of a permanent drop in the aquifer, throughout the valley, and surveyed earth fissures in Enoch and near Quichipa Lake.


“Dad, am I dreaming?” asked my 6-year-old daughter Zoe as we descended
another switchback on the Under-the-Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park.

It was a fitting question for the bizarre world we had immersed ourselves into.

Clearly, our minds had not yet accepted the peculiar tangerine hues or the improbably balanced spires and hoodoos that trademark the eroded edges or “breaks” of the Paunsaugunt Plateau as reality.

I had promised Zoe at the beginning of the summer her first backpacking trip —
just the two of us. But every weekend filled up with other duties until we were down to the last weekend before school was to start. After Zoe reminded me of my promise, I checked my schedule and thankfully, it was open.

Bryce Canyon was an easy choice because its backcountry trails are loaded
with great scenery, notoriously free of crowds and as a bonus, the National Park
Service was waiving entrance fees that weekend.


Cash for Appliances Utah announces last call for those looking to upgrade and save on new energy-efficient appliances
There’s still time for Utah residents to save on appliance upgrades, but rebates will only be available until funds run out

The clock is ticking on Utah’s highly successful Cash for Appliances program. With less than 24% of the program’s allocated funds still available, the time to act is now for those wishing to receive rebates when replacing their old appliances with ENERGY STAR® models.

So far, Cash for Appliances Utah has helped more than 9,000 residents upgrade to new energy-efficient appliances while offering nearly $2M in rebates. The program, however, can only continue until the funds are exhausted, and that mark is quickly approaching.

By upgrading from older, inefficient appliances to new ENERGY STAR® models, residents can lower their monthly energy bills while also reducing consumption. “These savings really add up over time,” says Chris Tallackson, program manager with the Utah State Energy Program.



Utah’s national parks are filled with dramatic scenic views and some of the best hiking trails in the entire world. Zion National Park, it could be argued, is the jewel in an entire crown of natural wonders.

But national parks also can be dangerous places because of natural hazards that demand visitors’ respect.

Those hazards are the focus of a new study about Zion published by the Utah Geologic Survey. The main goal of the study is to assist park managers as they map out the future of Zion.

The study focused on high-use areas of the park — Zion and Kolob canyons, Kolob Terrace and the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway corridor. The findings provided the basis of maps that show areas subject to flooding, rock falls, landslides and erosion, among other hazards. The plan is for park managers to use the information as they plan out improvements in an effort to keep the more than 2.5 million visitors each year to Zion safe.


Pumping more water than is being recharge the aquifer, also called water mining, is causing earth fissures identified in Enoch and Quichapa Lake, the Utah Geological Survey reported to the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District

The study commissioned by the CICWCD to the UGS came from a request by Enoch City officials to investigate a feature affecting a new subdivision in the northern part of that community on May 5, 2009. Enoch City Public Works Director Earl Gibson thought the massive land crack might be an active fault. UGS geologists responded to the request and subsequently mapped a 2.4-mile-long, generally north-south-trending earth fissure that had formed along the west side of the Enoch Graben area, an empty, 400-lot subdivision. The affected subdivision is near the south end of the fissure and has formed
in basin-fill deposits, crossed several undeveloped lots and has cracked and vertically displaced asphalt concrete street surfaces, concrete curb and gutter and sidewalks, the UGS study said.

An inspection using a pipeline camera revealed that the flow direction of a sewer line crossing the fissure had been reversed and that it was no longer possible to gravity drain sewage from the subdivision. At the time of the inspection, the streets, curb and gutter, and underground utilities in the subdivision were less than 18-months-old, the UGS study said.

“Once the water is removed, it is removed permanently so the community should be concerned because this issue involves a scarce resource and will become more expensive the further you have to go to get water and will be less and less available,” said UGS Geologist Bill Lund. “The second main issue is the land subsidence and earth fissures that are encroaching in the built environment, and when that happens, you have problems. Damages nationwide from fissures are $125 million annually.”


The geologic wonders of Zion National Park were created by rock slides, earthquakes, landslides, flooding and debris flows. But those forces are a threat to tourists and people who live in surrounding towns and along the popular highway leading into the park.

A recently completed survey of the region, based on existing maps of the hazard-prone areas, will help park managers protect visitors as they plan future construction. The study, by the Utah Geologic Survey, took two years to complete.

Carol Harlan, who lives in Rockville, near the park, said she and her husband have traveled to take photos near dust clouds that signal a rockfall from the cliffs north of town.

In 2001, a 300-ton boulder destroyed the new house of a Zion employee. “In that one I disappeared in a hole it left,” said Harlan.

It’s something residents have dealt with since the area was settled.


A new publication, recently released by the Utah Geological Survey shows more than 22,000 landslides, including debris flows that have occurred throughout the state. “Most landslides in Utah generally result from the reactivation of pre-existing landslides or hillslope modification of landslide-prone geologic units,” says Ashley Elliott, UGS Geologist. “If we understand the distribution of landslides and landslide-prone geologic units, we can reduce future landslide-related losses.”

The landslide maps can be used by local governments, developers, geotechnical consultants, the general public, and others interested in or concerned about landslides to identify potential landslide hazards and the need for site-specific geologic-hazard and geotechnical investigations in areas of proposed development.



A new geologic-hazards investigation, published by the Utah Geological Survey, could help Zion National Park (ZNP) keep its 2.5 million annual visitors safe. The results of the investigation will provide the National Park Service (NPS) with geologic-hazard information for future park management.

Zion National Park is subject to a variety of geologic hazards that may affect park development and visitor safety. “One of the nation’s scenic jewels, Zion National Park, is also home to a variety of geologic hazards. By supporting this study of geologic hazards in high-use areas of the park, the National Park Service has taken a proactive approach to protecting visitor safety,” says William Lund, UGS Senior Geologist.

The ZNP geologic-hazards study area is a 154-square-mile area that encompasses Zion Canyon, Kolob Canyon, Kolob Terrace, the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway corridor, and all developed and high-use areas of the park. This investigation includes nine 1:24,000-scale geographic information system (GIS)-based maps that show areas subject to flooding, debris flows, rock fall, landslides, surface faulting, liquefaction, collapsible and expansive rocks and soils, and/or soil piping and erosion.




The 2011 Calendar of Utah Geology is now available for purchase in the Natural Resources Map & Bookstore!

Featuring everything from slot canyons to snowy glaciers, the calendar has more than 50 photos depicting Utah’s fantastic scenery and geologic wonders.

“The photos are taken by staff members who are often on assignment in some of the most intriguing areas of the state,” says Rick Allis, UGS Director.

This year, 318 photos were juried for inclusion in the calendar.  This was the first time Martha Hayden, a paleontologist, had submitted photos for consideration, and her shot of pictographs in Salt Creek Canyon in Canyonlands National Park won a coveted spot.  “I’m happy the photo was selected because it’s one of the truly great places in Utah.”

The pictures are accompanied by geologic descriptions and location information.  “I hope that these pictures will encourage people to get outside and off the beaten path,” says Tyler Knudsen, a geologist with several picture credits.  “We are so lucky to live in a state with so much geologic diversity.”

UGS attempted to capture the diversity in the calendar with topics including igneous mountains, bridges and arches, the Green River Formation, and geologic hazards.

The calendars are on sale in the Bookstore for $4.95 or $4.25 for orders of 10 or more.
You can view the calendar online at: Remember, the holidays are fast approaching, and the calendar makes a great gift for friends and family!


Scientists have discovered evidence of four big earthquakes that rocked the Salt Lake Valley long before pioneers arrived — and they’re not on the well-known Wasatch Fault on the East Bench.

Geologists are getting their first good look at the West Valley Fault zone, just west of the Salt Lake International Airport. They’ve wanted to dig trenches in the area for years.

“We suspected that there had been numerous earthquakes in this region,” said Chris DuRoss of the Utah Geological Survey.

The West Valley Fault zone is actually comprised of a dozen different fractures. They lie roughly between Redwood Road and 5600 West from about 1700 North to 4800 South. But since at least the 1980s the area on the margins of the Great Salt Lake has been too soggy to dig.

Over the last decade the shrinking lake receded several miles from the fault zone, and the water table has dropped. Now that the Utah Geological Survey has been able to dig three trenches, the water table is visible 10 feet below the surface.

Recently geologists had their first look underground, and it confirms their suspicions. The horizontal layers of sediment show clear signs of being broken by fault movements. It’s clear evidence of four big earthquakes in the last 15,000 years.