By: William R. Lund

The Utah Geological Survey has revised and updated the Utah fault database used with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazus Earthquake Model. The Hazus Earthquake Model loss estimation software is designed to produce loss estimates for use by federal, state, regional, and local governments in planning for earthquake risk mitigation, emergency preparedness, response, and recovery. The model’s loss estimates are based on a scenario earthquake on a fault in an area of interest. This revised Hazus Utah fault database provides parameters for scenario earthquakes on significant Utah Quaternary-active faults statewide and for select faults/fault sections in adjoining states. The previous Utah Hazus fault database contained 27 Quaternary faults/fault sections taken largely from fault sources on the United States National Seismic Hazard Maps. This revised database expands the Utah Hazus fault database to include all known Late Quaternary and younger faults/fault segments capable of generating a ≥M 6.75 earthquake in Utah, and includes 82 Quaternary-active faults/fault segments, and nine credible multisegment rupture scenarios.


Bryce Canyon National Park from Rainbow Point, Garfield County, Utah
Photographer: Gregg Beukelman; © 2013


Happy Pioneer Day, geo friends! Start the day off with this great album of photos from the Library of Congress to complete your geology‪#‎throwbackthursday‬ ‪#‎tbt‬

View the album HERE

Most of the world’s volcanoes are located deep beneath the sea surface along the mid-ocean ridges where the Earth’s crust spread and creates new ocean floor. Volcanoes on land often occur in subduction zones, where one tectonic plate is diving beneath another, or hotspots created by mantle plumes deep within the planet.


Arches National Park, Grand County, Utah
Photographer: Don DeBlieux; © 2013

Dissolution of subsurface salt caused the collapse of the Salt Valley anticline, forming vertical fractures in the Jurassic-age Entrada Sandstone. Weathering along the fractures has produced the spectacular fins, towers, and arches in the Devils Garden section of Arches National Park.

Some of the most stunning structural feats aren’t built by architects or sculpted by artists. From Bryce Canyon to the Elbe Sandstone Mountains of central Europe, sandstone arches, alcoves, and pillars around the globe look strikingly similar to the same features in manmade architecture. So, how does nature do it?


“Spot the Rock” is back this week with a riddle! What Utah-“rock” is rarer than diamonds, and more valuable than gold?

Check for updates next week to see the answer! Like us on FACEBOOK or follow us on TWITTER to participate!

UPDATE: Answer revealed

Last week’s “Spot the Rock” was definitely one for our rock hounding friends. And everyone guessed right! Red Beryl is found in Utah, is rarer than diamond, and more valuable than gold.

The gemstone has several different names: red beryl, red emerald, or bixbite. Originally, the mineral was named bixbite, but now red beryl is the most accepted designation. Red beryl is estimated to be worth 1,000 times more than gold and is so rare that one red beryl crystal is found for every 150,000 diamonds.

Read more about the mineral HERE

Ready or not, someday an earthquake will come, and Gov. Gary Herbert has declared July 17 as Utah Seismic Safety Commission Day to honor those who have worked for two decades to help Utahns be better prepared for earthquakes and their aftermaths.


Good morning geo friends! The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has recently updated their U.S. National Seismic Hazard Maps, which reflect the best and most current understanding of where future earthquakes will occur, how often they will occur, and how hard the ground will likely shake. While earthquakes remain hard to predict, the USGS hopes to understand how earthquakes might affect areas specifically to better plan for the event.

To help make the best decisions to protect communities from earthquakes, new USGS maps display how intense ground shaking could be across the nation.


The Utah Geological Survey has released a publication containing 10 geologic hazard maps for an area of western Salt Lake Valley that includes portions of Herriman, West Jordan and South Jordan.