EARTHQUAKES

Earthquake study looks at how ground could move under Salt Lake City

Oct 26, 2021, 6:12 PM
Utah disaster funding earthquake study...
FILE: Caution tape surrounds the VFW building on Magna’s Main Street on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, following a 5.7 magnitude earthquake that was centered near the city on March 18. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — Live in Utah long enough, and you’ll hear somebody talking about the big earthquake that people have been expecting to hit, literally, for generations. For a state that boasts 200 active faults, the expectation isn’t unwarranted.

Today researchers from the Utah Geological Survey and from Boise State University are trying to understand more about the faults that run directly under Salt Lake City, the state’s capital city. And their newly published research paper has new information about the type of damage that Salt Lake City residents and businesses can expect.

Findings from the earthquake study 

The first finding is that secondary faults may connect two faults in Salt Lake City, the East Bench and the Warm Springs fault. 

The second finding involves “lateral spread deposits” in the downtown Salt Lake City area.

“Those (lateral spread deposits) are a result of earthquake ground shaking and liquefaction,” said Adam McKean, a senior geologist for the Utah Geological Survey at the Utah Division of Natural Resources.

“Liquefaction is where the water that’s in the soil moves in an earthquake. It shakes it. It vibrates it.”

The US Geological Survey defines liquefaction as taking place “when loosely packed, water-logged sediments at or near the ground surface lose their strength in response to strong ground shaking” and that “liquefaction occurring beneath buildings and other structures can cause major damage during earthquakes.”

The findings suggest earthquakes 5.0 and larger could cause ground displacement and liquefaction in Salt Lake City and that increases the risk of buildings getting damaged.

The takeaway from the earthquake study

McKean says knowing about the existence of these deposits can help businesses and residents of Salt Lake City be better prepared.
 
“Seeing that previous earthquakes have faulted in the surface and subsurface of the downtown area before helps us know what to prepare for, what else needs to be studied, and how these faults have functioned mechanically in the past.”

The findings from their research are published in the open-access journal The Seismic Record.

Contributing: Simone Seikaly

Further reading:

 

Today’s Top Stories

Earthquakes

Utah disaster funding earthquake study...
Simone Seikaly

What Utah can expect from federal funding after a disaster like Ian

What can those in Utah expect from federal disaster funding when a natural disaster on par with Hurricane Ian hits home?
2 months ago
Another earthquake hit Utah, following two yesterday, around 2:58 p.m. It was located 2.8 miles nor...
Waverly Golden

Another earthquake hits Utah, near Magna

Another earthquake hit Utah, following two that shook the Beehive State on Monday.
2 months ago
cash disaster emergency...
Rikki Meece

Cash is king after a natural disaster or similar emergency, so have some!

Learn about how much cash money you should have in an emergency (in what increments) and some cool, even surprising ways, to save it.
6 months ago
Food storage is an essential part of emergency planning....
Kira Hoffelmeyer

How to prepare for an emergency when you’re not really into it

You don't have to be worried about a zombie apocalypse to prepare for an emergency. It's as simple as gathering items from around your house.
7 months ago
magna earthquake sequence...
Dan Bammes

Magna earthquake helps scientists understand Utah’s vulnerability

The Magna earthquake on March 18, 2020, and its aftershocks offered data to scientists to help them learn about Utah's vulnerabilities.
9 months ago
Utah disaster funding earthquake study...
Simone Seikaly

Water, schools, among major concerns for Utah earthquake commission

Implementing five suggestions will go a long way in making Utahns safer when the "big" Utah earthquake finally hits said commission.
10 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Earthquake study looks at how ground could move under Salt Lake City