PRESS RELEASE: New Report Forecasts the High Likelihood of Damaging Earthquakes During the Lifetime of Many Utah Residents

In the first comprehensive study of its kind for Utah, Earthquake Probabilities for the Wasatch Front Region in Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming forecasts the chances for damaging earthquakes in the Wasatch Front region. In the next 50 years there is a 43 percent chance, or nearly 1-out-of-2 odds, of at least one large earthquake of magnitude 6.75 or greater. For a moderate quake of magnitude 5 or greater the probability is 93 percent, or greater than 9-out-of-10 odds.

See images for full press release.

Find the Publication HERE

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Updated Map Shows Utah’s Oil and Gas Fields

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Utah is an important source of crude oil and natural gas, and is currently ranked 11th in United States production. Driven by a decadal long increase in Utah’s oil and gas production, the Utah Geological Survey (UGS) recently released an updated Oil and Gas Fields Map of Utah that shows where most drilling activity has occurred, namely within the Uinta and Paradox Basins in eastern and southeastern Utah, respectively.

This updated map displays Utah’s oil, gas, and carbon dioxide reservoirs; major pipelines; and gas storage fields. In addition to easily identifying areas of current production and potential exploration, the map also shows areas that will not be developed such as national parks and monuments, recreation areas, historic sites, and rock units not expected to contain oil and gas resources. It is beneficial for geologists, engineers, landowners and other stakeholders, as well as state, federal, and county government officials.

The UGS and State of Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration funded this map with the intent to provide an up-to-date quick reference for Utah’s oil and gas resources, production, transportation, and processing. The map, UGS Circular 119, is available for purchase on CD with GIS files, or as a print-on-demand map at the Utah Department of Natural Resources Map and Bookstore, 1-888-UTAHMAP,

For more information about this map, please contact Rebekah Wood at or 801-537-3378.


Media Contact
Nathan Schwebach

New Report Highlights Untapped Oil and Gas Potential of the Chainman Shale in Western Utah

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A recently released study by the Utah Geological Survey (UGS), reveals untapped potential oil and gas resources in western Utah and eastern Nevada. Petroleum companies conducting oil exploration in the region can use the study to help evaluate oil and gas potential on federal and state lands, and identify possible drilling targets.

Landowners, government regulators and planners, investors, and other stakeholders will also find.

The UGS study focusses on the rock types, paleoenvironments, mechanical properties (critical for oil and gas production), and chemical characteristics of a 1500-foot-thick Chainman Shale outcrop exposed in the central Confusion Range of western Millard County. The Chainman Shale is an organic-rich geologic formation that was deposited in an ancient sea over 350 million years ago. Additionally, based on the surface samples, the study includes a hypothetical assessment of how much oil and gas the Chainman Shale may contain elsewhere in the region.

The report, UGS Miscellaneous Publication 15-4, is available for purchase in digital format (on CD) from the Utah Department of Natural Resources Map and Bookstore, 1-888-UTAHMAP, A PDF of a summary poster, which was presented during the 2013 American Association of Petroleum Geologists Rocky Mountain Section meeting in Salt Lake City, is also available on the UGS webpage:

For more information about the report or the Chainman Shale, contact Thomas C. Chidsey, Jr., at 801-537-3364 or

Media Contact
Nathan Schwebach

Stikes Utahraptor fossil block moves to Thanksgiving Point

A BIG BIG “Thanks” to Cross Marine Projects of American Fork for helping us move our nearly 9-ton Utahraptor fossil block from our UGS headquarters in Salt Lake City down to Thanksgiving Point’s Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi today.

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UGS Official News Release: Utah Geological Survey Partners with Thanksgiving Point to Prepare 125 Million Year Old Utahraptor Fossils

March 17, 2015

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Salt Lake City – March 17, 2015 – The Utah Geological Survey (UGS) has signed an agreement with Thanksgiving Point Institute to extract and prepare the fossils of a pack of Utahraptors encased in a nine-ton sandstone block.

Utahraptors are the oldest known dromaeosaurids, or bird-like therapod dinosaurs. They resemble Steven Spielberg’s Velociraptor from the movie Jurassic Park, but are much larger and believed to be a more ferocious predator.

On Wednesday, March 18th, Cross Marine Projects of American Fork will generously donate their services to relocate the sandstone block from the Utah Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in Salt Lake City to Thanksgiving Point’s Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi. Upon securing the necessary funding, one of the world’s top micropreparators, UGS geologist Scott Madsen, and his colleagues may spend up to five years preparing the fossils in the museum’s paleo lab, begining as early as May.

The museum’s paleo lab has a public observation room and will be equipped with video microscopes to feed video footage into the museum. This public access will give museum visitors an educational opportunity to see firsthand the extensive detail and care paleontologists use to prepare fossils.

“This will allow museum guests to see real science happening in real time,” stated Rick Hunter, Thanksgiving Point paleontologist. “We fully expect to learn much more about raptor behavior and the growth stages from juvenile to adult in Utahraptor. This is going to be huge for paleontology.”

“Thanksgiving Point has the only paleo lab in the region suitable to work on such a large block,” said James Kirkland, UGS State Paleontologist. “This discovery has the best preserved and most complete Utahraptor skeletons ever found. Normally we’d break a large discovery like this into smaller blocks. But this one is so rich with intertwined skeletal remains that we couldn’t split it without hitting skeleton.”

Preliminary analysis of the 125 million year old sandstone indicates the block contains the remains of at least six, and possibly many more, Utahraptors, including one adult, four juveniles, and one baby. Preservation within the block appears exceptional, lending to the hope that details such as feather impressions may be preserved. Bones of at least two iguanodont dinosaurs were also discovered within the sandstone block, leading Utah paleontologists to believe the Utahraptors were hunting when they became mired in quicksand, buried, preserved, and fossilized.

UGS paleontologists originally extracted the mega-block from the Stikes Quarry, which is located on Utah State land in east-central Utah, north of Arches National Park. Matt Stikes, a former graduate student at Northern Arizona University, discovered the site and reported it to the UGS in 2004. Last year Cross Marine Projects donated their services to recover the nine-ton block from its steep hillside location and move it to DNR. All fossils within the block are owned by the State of Utah and after preparation, their final repository will be with the Natural History Museum of Utah.

Media Contact
Mark Milligan
Utah Geological Survey
801-537-3326 (office)