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

2019 Annual Report

2019 was an exciting year for the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. We welcomed new students and staff, had an earthquake sequence widely felt in the Salt Lake Valley, and were involved in several interesting research projects.

We welcomed several new faces to our team. Dr. Ben Baker joined us as a research scientist and co-taught a new course “Statistical Applications to Earthquake Seismology” with associate director Kris Pankow, to great student reception. We also gained full-time communications specialist Rebecca Sumsion. UUSS brought on two postdoctoral research associates: Dr. Maria Mesimeri and Dr. James Holt. They’ve been a great contribution to important research projects.

At the beginning of the year, there was excitement in Bluffdale, Utah, at the south end of the Salt Lake Valley where an earthquake sequence took place between February – April. The event generated a lot of public interest since the sequence occurred in a densely populated area. UUSS received a lot of media attention and we participated in several interviews for local news networks and newspapers.

We’re proud of the many graduate and undergraduate students we have working for us. 2019 brought a lot of opportunity for great student-led research projects. Research projects included investigating the fault location of the Bluffdale sequence, earthquakes that occurred around the Utah FORGE seismometer deployment and an intriguing swarm near the San Rafael Swell.

We are excited to announce that we joined the International Seismological Centre and are looking forward to the exposure this opportunity will provide. UUSS also joined in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Utah Seismic Safety Commission at the state capitol.

2019 closed with the annual American Geophysical Union fall meeting. UUSS had a strong representation and were included in several presentations. I’m proud of the work we do and look forward to more opportunities in 2020.

Make sure to follow us on social media: @uussquake on Twitter and Instagram and @UUSeismographStations on Facebook.

Best Wishes, Keith D. Koper, UUSS Director

M 3.0 Near Richfield, UT

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: April 05, 2021 04:00 PM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.0 occurred at 02:56 PM on April 05, 2021 (MDT). The epicenter of the shock was located beneath Central Valley in south-central Utah, three miles south-southwest of the city of Richfield, Utah. This earthquake was reported felt in Richfield and in the nearby towns of Monroe and Salina. Today’s earthquake occurred within a seismically active area of Utah. Since 1962, 32 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have occurred within 16 mi of the epicenter of today’s event. The largest of these events was a magnitude 5.2 on October 04, 1967, located 6.3 mi east-southeast of the town of Sevier, UT.

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): April 05, 2021

Time (UTC): 20:56

Date (local): April 05, 2021

Time (local): 02:56 PM MDT

Latitude: 38 43.87′ N

Longitude: 112 6.23′ W

Preferred magnitude: 3.00 Ml

M 2.8 Near Wallsburg, UT

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: March 06, 2021 12:30 AM MST

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that an earthquake of magnitude 2.8 occurred at 11:31 PM on March 05, 2021 (MST). The epicenter of the shock was located in the Wasatch Range, two miles south-southwest of the town of Wallsburg, Utah, and 14 miles east-northeast of the city of Orem. It was followed by a magnitude 2.0 aftershock at 11:35 PM. The M 2.8 earthquake was reported felt in Wallsburg, Orem, the city of Provo, and other towns and cities in the vicinity. One earthquake of magnitude 3.0 or greater has occurred within 16 miles of the epicenter of this evening’s event
since 1962. This earthquake had a magnitude of 4.3 and occurred on October 01, 1972, 3.4 miles east of Heber City, UT.

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): March 06, 2021 Time (UTC): 06:31

Date (local): March 05, 2021 Time (local): 11:31 PM MST

Latitude: 40 21.63′ N

Longitude: 111 26.21′ W

Preferred magnitude: 2.8 Ml

M 2.3, widely felt near Magna, UT

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: October 10, 2020 07:00 AM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a small earthquake of magnitude 2.3 occurred at 11:18 PM yesterday evening, October 9, 2020 (MDT).  The shock was located 6.6 miles beneath the northwestern part of the Salt Lake Valley, 2.9 mi E of Magna, UT.  This earthquake was an aftershock of the magnitude 5.7 earthquake that occurred in the same area on March 18.  Today’s aftershock was felt by hundreds of residents of the Salt Lake Valley. To date, the University of Utah Seismograph Stations has located 2,498 aftershocks from the March 18 earthquake, including 115 of magnitude 2.3 or larger and 40 of magnitude 3.0 and larger. In recent weeks there has been, on the average, approximately one aftershock per day large enough to locate, most of them smaller than magnitude 2.0.  Aftershock activity is expected to continue for months, but with the rate continuing to decrease with time.

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):   October 10, 2020       Time (UTC):   05:18

Date (local): October 09, 2020       Time (local): 11:18 PM MDT

Latitude:     40 42.71′ N

Longitude:    112 3.24′ W

Preferred magnitude: 2.3 Ml

M 2.7 near Logan, UT

PRESS RELEASE
University of Utah Seismograph Stations
Released: September 19, 2020 10:45 PM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that an earthquake of magnitude 2.7 occurred at 09:56 PM on September 19, 2020 (MDT). The hypocenter of the shock was located 11 miles beneath Logan Canyon in the Bear River Range,  7 miles east northeast of Logan, UT. 

This earthquake was reported felt by residents of Logan and other cities and towns in the Cache Valley. Today’s earthquake occurred in a seismically active area of Utah. A total of 14 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have occurred within 16 mi of the epicenter of this event since 1962. The largest of these events was a magnitude 4.6 that occurred on March 17, 1966, 14 miles east of Providence, UT.

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):   September 20, 2020         Time (UTC):   03:56
Date (local): September 19, 2020         Time (local): 09:56 PM MDT
Latitude:     41 45.95′ N
Longitude:    111 42.32′ W
Preferred magnitude: 2.7 Ml

2018 Annual Report

2018 was an especially difficult year because of the unexpected death of Dave Drobeck on February 11. Dave served the University of Utah Seismograph Stations (UUSS) for over 20 years and was instrumental in developing the Yellowstone Seismic Network into one of the premier volcano monitoring networks in the world. Dave’s loss was especially hard on the UUSS engineering group—Corey Hatch, Wes O’keefe, and Jon Rusho—who had to take up extra work duties while grieving the loss of their colleague. A summary of Dave’s career was presented by Bob Smith at a ceremony on February 22, and is reprinted in this report. 

While someone like Dave can never truly be replaced, I am happy to report that a former UUSS undergraduate research assistant, ArvindParapuzha, agreed to return to UUSS as a seismic engineer trainee in May, and that Wes O’keefe worked his first full field season in Yellowstone this past fall. On July 1, long-time seismic analyst Mark Hale was promoted to senior application systems analyst. Congratulations, Mark!

The biggest highlight of 2018 was the June 14 announcement that the University of Utah had been selected to receive a $140 million grant from the Department of Energy to develop the Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy (FORGE) site near Milford, Utah. The selection was due in no small part to the effort of UUSS associate director Kris Pankow and her team of students and staff, who created a seismic mitigation plan for the project. Dr. Pankow will continue managing the FORGE seismic risk as work ramps up over the next several years.

We look forward to an exciting new year in 2019. I encourage you to visit our revamped web page at quake.utah.edu to stay up-to-date on our new initiatives and products as well as to find out about the latest seismic activity in Utah. You can also follow UUSS on Twitter with the handle @UUSSQuake.

Best wishes,

Keith D. Koper, UUSS Director

M 3.7 Near Enterprise, UT

PRESS RELEASE

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

Released: July 21, 2020 04:45 AM MDT

The University of Utah Seismograph Stations reports that a minor earthquake of magnitude 3.7 occurred at 03:44 AM on July 21, 2020 (MDT).  The epicenter of the shock was located in southwest Utah, 14 miles east of Enterprise, UT and about 28 miles north of St. George, UT.

This earthquake was reported felt in the surrounding region including in the cities of Hurricane and St. George, UT.  A total of 6 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater have occurred within 16 miles of the epicenter of this event since 1962.  The largest of these events was a magnitude 4.2 on April 04, 1981, 14.5 miles west-southwest of Cedar City, UT.

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