Big earthquake could happen in Utah sooner than we think

By Jason Nguyen

Published 04/03 2014 04:48PM

Updated 04/03 2014 05:20PM

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS (ABC 4 Utah) - Seismologist say that the next big earthquake is going to happen on the Wasatch fault line.

You may not know this, but Utah has 800 earthquakes on average every year. Most of them you won’t even feel, leaving room for a 7.0 earthquake or the big one.

“It has been about 300 years since the last one happened and they happen about every 300 years along the Wasatch fault,” said Utah Department of Emergency Management spokesmen Joe Dougherty.

The fault line runs from southern Idaho through central Utah.

“It is divided into about ten segments and there could be a major earthquake along any one of those segments,” said Dougherty.

The segment causing the most concern is in Salt Lake City where thousands would be affected.

“7.0 earthquake would mean major disruptions to utilities, to roads, to infrastructure; we would see thousands of people probably die from an earthquake like that,” says Dougherty.

The fault runs right along Highland Drive.

“There would be a vertical offset up to 5 feet. Imagine that in the middle of the city, roads, power and water would be disrupted,” said University of Utah Research Seismologist Katherine Whidden.

A myth during an earthquake is to run for a door archway for safety but the best thing to do is drop to the ground and get under something sturdy like a table or desk until the shaking stops.

On Thursday, April 17, 2014, Utah Emergency Management plans to hold the Great Utah Shake Out. It is a program that will go over earthquake preparedness. They say because an earthquake in Utah is evident it is best to be prepared with food, water, a first aid kit, batteries and a flashlight for at least 72 hours.

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