Experts suggest Utah unprepared for possibility of powerful earthquake

Posted at 10:00 PM, Sep 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-10 00:00:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Experts say the state of Utah is not prepared for a big earthquake, and seismologists at the Earthquake Research Institute predict if a 7.0-magnitude quake hit the Wasatch Fault Line it would cost the state about $33 billion in economic losses.

They are also studying the Taylorsville fault line to find out if it connects to the Wasatch, and, if it does, that could mean more damage to the Salt Lake Valley.

"That's why you're going to see a lot of push from government on resiliency,” said Bob Carey, an earthquake program manager. “So to do things beforehand. Better building codes. Retrofitting buildings that you need to have. Things like that. Making sure that your critical facilities are able to withstand the event.”

Scientists also claim if building codes remain unchanged, a major earthquake could mean 2,500 fatalities and 9,000 injuries.

The research is being presented to the state's Lt. Governor September 21, and scientists said the hope is legislators will invest in better infrastructure to protect Utahns.