Wasatch Fault Scenario

wasatchThe EERI Utah Chapter, in cooperation with FEMA, has completed an earthquake scenario report for the greater Wasatch Front region.

Scenario for a Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake on the Wasatch Fault-Salt Lake City Segment: Hazards and Loss Estimates” (PDF file, 40MB) is now available online. The Utah Chapter hopes that the report will “catalyze public and private actions that will increase pre-disaster resiliency through earthquake preparedness – being prepared to withstand, to respond and to recover.” The report was presented by the Chapter to the Utah Seismic Safety Commission (USSC) in July 2015.

The report uses results developed by the Utah Division of Emergency Management from their ongoing work with the HAZUS loss-estimation software. The scenario is for a magnitude 7.0 earthquake on the Salt Lake City segment of the Wasatch fault.

Estimated aggregated losses, for the 12 most northern Utah counties, illustrate the severity of this event. The human impact of the report focuses on the HAZUS results in terms of deaths, injuries, and sheltering needs. The HAZUS results also emphasize the huge economic impact showing the loss from structural, nonstructural (i.e. walls, ceilings, cladding, and HVAC), building contents, and inventory damage in addition to the cost of lost wages, lost rental income, and relocation. The report lists the estimated lifeline losses and also provides time estimates for recovery for selected utilities. In addition, the report presents estimates on the number of building inspectors that will be needed to perform building safety evaluations, and it estimates the amount of debris generated that must be hauled away.

The scenario report concludes with a call to action, providing nine recommendations to the USSC. These recommendations provide the Commission with a direction forward that includes consensus building of stakeholders, advocates for pre-disaster planning and mitigation, and encourages the ongoing study of geologic hazards along with the continued monitoring of seismic activity, and finishes with the need for disaster resiliency planning.

The Chapter would like to thank the Scenario Subcommittee for their volunteered time and hard work on the report.  Subcommittee members include Kris Pankow, Chair, Barry Welliver, Walter Arabasz, Pete McDonough, Josh Groeneveld, Leslie Youd, Gary Christenson, Steve Bowman, Sheryl Peterson, Brent Maxfield, and Bob Carey.

After presentation to the USSC, a hard copy of the report was mailed to jurisdictions along the Wasatch Front.

For more information or with questions about this activity, visit the Wasatch Fault Scenario web page or contact the EERI Utah Chapter directly at utah@eeri.org.