Scenic Drive Rockfall Reconnaissance, Zion National Park, Utah.

Geologic Hazards

Geologic hazards are geologic conditions that may cause substantial loss or damage to property, damage to the environment and economy, health risks, injury, or even death. While many geologic hazards are not life-threatening, many are often costly when not recognized and properly accommodated for with land-use management and project planning and design. Failure to accommodate geologic hazards may result in additional, significant construction and/or future maintenance costs, economic losses, and injury or death.

Since 1850, at least 6,075 deaths and an undetermined financial cost have been attributed to geologic hazards in Utah.

Damages caused by geologic hazards are often not covered by property or other insurance. In almost all cases, it is more cost effective to investigate and characterize potential hazards and implement appropriate mitigation, rather than rely on additional maintenance over the life of a project and/or incur costly construction change orders and other financial costs. We can live and deal with geologic hazards by understanding what they are, where they exist, how large or difficult they are, and how to effectively mitigate them.

To ensure that future development within Utah is protected from geologic hazards, the UGS recommends that a comprehensive engineering-geology and geotechnical engineering investigation be performed by licensed professionals for all development. Such investigations provide valuable information on site geologic conditions that may affect or be affected by development, as well as the type and severity of geologic hazards at a site and recommend solutions to mitigate the effects and the costs of the hazards, both at the time of construction and over the life of the development.

Learn More About Geologic Hazards in Utah

Geologic hazards that affect Utah include earthquakes, landslides, flooding, problem soils and rocks, and volcanic hazards.

Hazard Resources

Hazard Assistance

Services, assistance, and emergency response provided by the UGS.

The Bear Hollow Lakes landslide near Riverside that nearly impacted a house (at left of photo) in the private Bear Hollow Lakes development. A concrete block barrier was subsequently placed along the road in an attempt to protect the house. Previous historical landslides are evident in the river bluff above and on both sides of this recent landslide. Photo taken February 19, 2017, courtesy of Pete Clark.

Information and Maps

Reports, maps, and other information about geologic hazards in Utah.

Highlighted Scientific Publications

Open File Report 667

Earthquake Database for Utah Geological Survey Map 277: Utah Earthquakes (1850-2016) and Quaternary Faults

Special Study 159

Paleoseismology of Utah, v. 28 – Holocene Surface-Faulting Earthquakes at the Spring Lake and North Creek Sites on the Nephi Segment of the Wasatch Fault Zone: Evidence for Complex Rupture of the Nephi Segment

Special Study 163

Geologic Hazards of the Tickville Spring Quadrangle, Salt Lake and Utah Counties, Utah

Map 277

Utah Earthquakes (1850-2016) and Quaternary Faults

Public Interest Articles

I am thinking of buying a house at “X” address… is it near a fault? Faults 2007
Earthquakes – Wasatch Fault Earthquakes 2007
The 2001 Heather Drive Landslide, Layton, Davis County, Utah Hazards 2007
The 2005 Sage Vista Lane Landslide, Cedar Hills, Utah County, Utah Hazards 2007
Wildfires and Debris Flows in Northern Utah Hazards 2007
The 2005-06 Creekside Drive Area Landslides, Mountain Green, Morgan County, Utah Hazards 2007
Wasatch Fault: Nephi Segment Hazards 2007
Wasatch Fault: End Segments Hazards 2007
2006 Landslides Hazards 2007
Thistle Landslide Revisited, Utah County Hazards 2005
Protecting Utah Homes Hazards 2005
Landslides keep Hazards Program busy Hazards 2005
Earth Fissures in Escalante Hazards 2005
Earth Fissures near Beryl Junction in the Escalante Desert Earth Fissures 2005
What are seismic surveys and how much “shaking” do they create? Earthquakes 2004
Earthquake Fault Map of a Portion of Cache County, Utah Maps 2004
Earthquake Fault Map of a Portion of Tooele County, Utah Maps 2004
Earthquake Fault Map of a Portion of Washington County, Utah Maps 2004
Improving Our Understanding of Earthquake Hazards in Utah Hazards 2004
The Mapleton Megatrench Hazards 2004
New Guidelines for Evaluating Surface- Fault-Rupture Hazards in Utah Hazards 2004
Liquefaction Potential Map for Cache Valley Cache County, Utah Maps 2003
Liquefaction Susceptibility Map for Tooele Valley, Tooele Valley, Utah Hazards 2003
Maps Show Potential Geologic Effects of a Magnitude 7 Earthquake Hazards 2003
Debris Flows in Utah – New Guidelines Hazards 2003
Fire-Related Debris Flows Damage Houses Hazards 2003
Triggered Seismicity in Utah from the Denali Fault Earthquake Hazards 2003
Ground-Shaking Map for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault Salt Lake City, Utah Metropolitan Area Hazards 2002
Large Boulder Damages Rockville Home Hazards 2002
Landslide damaged six Layton homes Hazards 2002
Massive Gravity Slides Show the Value of Detailed Mapping Maps 2002
Photo essay of four Utah earthquakes, 1921-1972 (pdf) Earthquakes 2001
Landslides: What they are, why they occur Hazards 2001
Using Geologic Hazards Information to Reduce Risks and Losses - a Guide for Local Governments Hazards 2001
Rock-Fall Hazards Hazards 2000
Debris-Flow Hazards Hazards 2000
Volcanoes (Activity for 3rd grade) Volcanoes 1999
Homeowner's Guide to Recognizing and Reducing Landslide Damage on their Property Hazards 1998
Earthquakes & Utah (pdf) Earthquakes 1997
Stability of the Pine Ridge Landslide at Timber Lakes Estates, Wasatch County, Utah: Implications for Future Development and Land-Use Planning Hazards 1997
Homebuyers guide to earthquake hazards in Utah (pdf) Earthquakes 1996
The Wasatch Fault (pdf) Earthquakes 1996
Radon-Hazard Potential in Western Salt Lake Valley, Salt Lake County, Utah Radon 1996
Radon-Hazard Potential in Tooele Valley, Tooele County, Utah Radon 1996
Radon-Hazard Potential in the Lower Weber River Area, Weber and Davis Counties, Utah Radon 1996
Radon-Hazard Potential in Southeastern Cache Valley, Cache County, Utah Radon 1996
Radon-Hazard Potential in the Central Sevier Valley, Sevier County, Utah Radon 1996
Liquefaction-Potential Map for a Part of Davis County, Utah Hazards 1994
Liquefaction-Potential Map for a Part of Salt Lake County, Utah Hazards 1994
Liquefaction-Potential Map for a Part of Weber County, Utah Hazards 1994

Hazard Articles: 109