Building Utah on a Fault by ConstructKingLgx


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									Building Utah on a Fault

                                                        Like most other hills and valleys across the globe, the
                                                        majestic Rocky Mountains, and Wasatch Front in
                                                        particular, were created by the heaving’s and jarring’s
                                                        of the Earth. Millions of years ago powerful tectonic
                                                        plates crashed into each other forming, by the
                                                        process of plate subduction, a mountain range later
                                                        to be called the Rocky Mountains that would stretch
                                                        from the northern territories of Canada to the
                                                        desserts of northern Mexico.

Mountain ranges

The beautiful peaks and ridges of the Rocky Mountains provide adventure and grandeur for those who
live by or within them. Salt Lake City is one such location where visitors and residence alike can enjoy
the mystic beauty of the Rockies from out their own windows.

Salt Lake City is a major urban area that is built at the base of the towering peaks of the Wasatch Range
of the Rocky Mountains. The proximity of the mountains to the city and the numerous other urban
areas that span the entire range makes for a thrilling and scenic geographical back-drop for individuals
to live and families to grow.

For this reason there have been many that have chosen to make their homes along the base of the
Wasatch Mountains. But with this beauty comes an inherent danger from the very aspects that made
the regal mountains to begin with.

The movement of Earth’s enormous tectonic plates brings powerful earthquakes at every seismic shift
and the same is true for the plates that have formed the Rockies and those that have merge along the
Wasatch Fault. The danger, therefore, of a powerful
earthquake striking the heavily populated areas spanning
the Wasatch Front is ever present and continuous, some
may even say inevitable.

Evidence of the impending quake along the Wasatch
Front can be seen in other areas of the fault that run
along the Pacific and North American tectonic plates. In
central Idaho near Borah Peak in 1983 a powerful 7.3
magnitude earthquake shook the rural landscape and
split the Earth’s crust, causing a six foot cliff to jut up at the fault line.

Danger of a powerful earthquake rocking the urban Wasatch Front has been predicted since 1883 when
an employee of the U.S. Geological Survey, G. K. Gilbert, announced through the Salt Lake Tribune that
residence of the Salt Lake Valley should prepare for and expect a disastrous earthquake erupting along
the fault line they lived on. Since then the long awaited super-tremor has been anxiously anticipated
and monitored at the fault for activity.

With evidences pointing to an inevitable earthquake hitting the Salt Lake City area, local governments
have enacted into law certain building regulations and codes to ensure that structures are built to
withstand an earthquake without failing. A building that structurally fails during an earthquake can
cause excessive casualties to those individuals inside at the time it partially or entirely collapses.

By having Utah construction companies maintain and follow these codes, the cities and the entire state
of Utah hope to mitigate damages and injuries when the so labeled “Big One” hits.

Photo credit: Eric Hunt, Robert Sanzalone

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