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

Hazard Articles: 109