Why is earthquake preparedness important in Utah?
It is important to understand that the Magna earthquake was not “The Big One” that Utah residents hear about from time to time. The Wasatch Front area has the potential to experience an earthquake larger than magnitude 7, up to a maximum of about magnitude 7.6, which would result in far greater and wide-ranging damage, injuries, and likely deaths.
The Magna earthquake should be a reminder that Utahns live in earthquake country, and that there is a reasonable chance that people living in Utah today could experience a large earthquake in their lifetime. As a society, we shouldn’t fear the future, but we should prepare for it.
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Paleoseismic Investigation of the Taylorsville Fault, West Valley Fault Zone, Utah
The May 18th Magna earthquake has generated over 1,000 aftershocks, some of which have occurred on the West Valley fault zone. Although few Utahns are familiar with this system of faults in northern Salt Lake Valley, the West Valley fault zone is an active geologic structure and shares an interesting relationship with the well known Wasatch fault zone. Learn more about UGS investigations into the earthquake history of the West Valley fault zone:
“Our results suggest that West Valley fault zone earthquakes likely occur in response to earthquakes on the Salt Lake City segment [of the Wasatch fault zone].”