Japan’s magnitude-8.9 earthquake has promptedwarnings from experts that a major temblor along Utah’s Wasatch Front could kill thousands of people and cause billions of dollars in damage.
While Utah is unlikely to experience a quake as powerful as the one that devastated Japan, the state could be rocked by one of up to a magnitude of 7.5, the Standard-Examiner of Ogden reported.
Adolph Yonkee, a Weber State University geosciences professor, said that kind of quake could be produced by the Wasatch fault line and could strike tomorrow or 500 years from now. The fault runs about 240 miles south of Idaho to central Utah.
“We don’t have as big of earthquakes here, but a major earthquake in Utah would still be serious and produce a lot of damage,” Yonkee said.
Tony Lowry, a Utah State University geophysicist, said a major quake would devastate Utah and destroy many buildings, especially those built before quake safety requirements were imposed in 1989.