Tag Archive for: northern Utah


It’s hard not to notice the terraces across many of the mountains around Northern Utah. But what are they and how did they get there?


Near the town of Echo in northern Utah is a cluster of reddish-brown natural monuments called The Witches (also known as Witch Rocks, Witches Rocks, Witch Bluffs, or Witches Bluffs), composed of the Echo Canyon Conglomerate.

In 1858, army Captain Albert Tracy described them in his journal as “witch-like” and “so singularly like figures in kirtles [long skirts] and steeple-hats, or bonnets that they have received the appellation [Witch Rocks]”. By using your imagination (and perhaps squinting a bit), you can picture a coven of witches in long robes and witches’ hats standing on the hillside.

Nearby Echo Canyon has long been used as a main thoroughfare between southern Wyoming and northern Utah, first by Native Americans, fur trappers, and explorers, then by wagon trains on their way to Salt Lake City or other points west. Before the interstate highway, passengers on the Overland Stage and then the Union Pacific Railroad also made their way through the canyon.

At the town of Echo, the canyon opens into the Henefer Valley where most of these travelers rested and marveled at the unusual rock formations, some even drawing sketches or taking photographs of The Witches.


Salt Lake Tribune

It wasn’t The Big One, but Thursday’s earthquake did enough shaking to make northern Utah take notice.

A 4.9 magnitude earthquake hit five miles northeast of Randolph at 5:59 p.m. Thursday, according to the University of Utah Seismograph Stations.

The shaking at the Rich County Sheriff’s Office in Randolph knocked down pictures, but did not generate reports of injuries or damages, said dispatcher Russ Handley.

At the Randolph Sinclair station, there was a loud rumble and some bottles tipped over, said manager Tammy Hoffman.

“It kind of shook people up, but some people who were driving [at the time] didn’t even know it happened,” she said.

A 4.9 is a “light” earthquake, according to Kristine Pankow, associate director of the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. It wouldn’t be enough to knock people over, but people would feel it, she said. However, it was the largest quake since 1992, she said. On average, Utah gets an earthquake of about magnitude 5 every 10 years, but this one waited 18.

“I guess it was just time,” she said.



Deseret News


Utah Seismic Safety Commission
Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country

Utah Geological Survey
University of Utah Seismograph Stations