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Abstract

The Wasatch Front, Utah’s population center, faces threats from several geologic hazards. These range from hazards that occur somewhere in the region almost every year, such as landslides and debris flows, to potentially catastrophic but infrequent hazards resulting from large earthquakes along the Wasatch fault zone. Study of these hazards is an ongoing process, and recent related research will be discussed on this field trip. We will observe an active landslide in Salt Lake City and hazard-reduction techniques implemented following fire-related debris flows near Farmington. We will examine evidence of recent flooding from increased levels of Great Salt Lake and discuss flooding hazards posed by the lake. We will observe the effects of large prehistoric earthquakes along the Wasatch fault zone, the longest active, normal-slip fault zone in the United States, and will discuss paleoseismology of the fault zone and the potential for earthquake ground shaking in the Salt Lake Valley. We will also examine ongoing efforts to seismically retrofit the Utah State Capitol to withstand strong earthquake ground shaking while preserving the historical integrity of its architecture.

Keywords: geologic hazards, landslide, earthquake, debris flow, flooding, Wasatch fault zone, Wasatch Front.

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