2020 Annual Report

2020 was an unprecedented year in many ways. University of Utah Seismograph Stations was thrown into the thick of things by not only dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic but also responding to the largest Utah earthquake to occur since 1992.

The pandemic impacted our operations by causing us to work-from-home among other things. There were also complications in working out how to safely conduct field work and research. Overall, UUSS was able to rise to the challenge and quickly adjust to all the changes.

After our first-full day of working-from-home, Utah experienced its largest earthquake since 1992. The March 18, 2020 moderate M5.7 earthquake shook the Wasatch Front and brought a lot of attention to UUSS and our operations, especially as felt aftershocks continued to shake the public for months. We remained busy throughout the year because of the sequence. In a way, the Magna earthquake was a validation of the importance of the work we accomplish and a reminder that Utah is earthquake country.

The Magna, Utah, earthquake sequence provided substantial opportunities for research. Our staff and students worked on several different projects regarding the sequence. Research included documenting how we responded to the earthquake during a pandemic, evidence for a listric Wasatch Fault, and monitoring the sequence with nodal seismometers and machine learning.

Several of the Magna specific projects will be featured in a special issue of Seismological Research Letters that will focus on 2020 Intermountain West earthquakes. The special issue will be published in March 2021.

We’re grateful to call 2020 a successful year even through all the challenges it provided. Our staff and students worked hard and accomplished incredible things. We expect even greater accomplishments in 2021.

Keith D. Koper, UUSS Director

M 3.6 in Yellowstone National Park

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations
Released: July 16, 2021 08:15 PM MDT


The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.6 occurred at 06:45 PM on July 16, 2021(MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located beneath Yellowstone Lake, 7.4 mi SSE of Fishing Bridge, WY.  This earthquake is part of an intense sequence of small earthquakes, known as a swarm, that began yesterday afternoon (July 15).  There have been approximately 200 earthquakes in this swarm so far, including three others of magnitude 3.0 or larger and approximately 40 in the magnitude range 2 to 3.  Earthquake swarms are common in the Yellowstone National Park region, and account for roughly half of the total seismicity in the Yellowstone region.  The current swarm is occurring in an area that has had swarm activity in the recent past, including the 2008-2009 Yellowstone Lake swarm that included over 800 earthquakes.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey formon the US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:
Date (UTC): July 17, 2021      Time (UTC): 00:45
Date (local): July 16, 2021     Time (local): 06:45 PM MDT
Latitude: 44 27.64′ N
Longitude: 110 20.83′ W
Preferred magnitude: 3.6 Ml

M 3.7 near Strawberry Reservoir, UT

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations
Released: June 09, 2021 02:45 PM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.7 occurred in northern Utah at 01:52 PM on June 9, 2021 (MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located beneath the Wasatch Range, seven miles northeast of Strawberry Reservoir and 21 miles east of the town of Wallsburg, Utah. This earthquake was reported felt by a few residents of Utah and Salt Lake Valleys. It was followed by a magnitude 2.5 aftershock at 01:55 pm MDT. A magnitude 3.4 earthquake occurred in the same general area in 2006.

Anyone who felt the earthquake is encouraged to fill out a survey form
on the US Geological Survey website: earthquake.usgs.gov.

Earthquake Summary:

Date (UTC): June 09, 2021

Time (UTC): 19:52

Date (local): June 09, 2021

Time (local): 01:52 PM MDT

Latitude: 40 18.59′ N

Longitude: 111 2.70′ W

Preferred magnitude: 3.7 Ml