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Utah News

Utah May Be Unprepared For Earthquake


  The vast majority of Utahns live and work along the Wasatch Front fault line. According to the Utah Geological Survey, the region has a high probability of a large earthquake in the coming years.

A new report published by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute indicates that earthquakes pose the greatest natural threat to Utah’s people, infrastructure and economy.

The report looked at the possible outcomes of a 7.0 earthquake in the Wasatch Front area.

Marv Halling is a professor of structural engineering at Utah State University. He said even though the current seismic activity in Utah is quite low, eventually Utah will experience a medium to large magnitude earthquake.

“Hopefully we’ll do what we need to before that event occurs to minimize the damage when the event occurs,” Halling said.

Halling also said many of the buildings in Utah are not prepared for a large earthquake.

“Some are, some are not. It’s mostly based on the years that they were designed and constructed,” Halling said. “So some buildings will perform very well in the State of Utah and others have not gone through the required renovation and retrofit to make them safe under current standards.”

The full report from the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute found that Utah’s economic losses would be more than $33 billion.