Comparing the Morocco earthquake to the 2020 Utah quake
Sep 12, 2023, 9:30 PM | Updated: Sep 15, 2023, 1:51 pm
(AP Photo/Mosa'ab Elshamy)
SALT LAKE CITY — Morocco suffered a devastating 6.8-magnitude earthquake Sept. 8 that has left more than 2,900 people dead.
In March 2020, a 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck in Salt Lake City with the epicenter north of Magna.
Katherine Whidden, research scientist with the Seismology Station at the University of Utah, discusses the differences between the two earthquakes with KSL NewsRadio.
“So the difference between the 6.8 and the 5.7 that we felt here in northern Utah in 2020. The magnitude difference is 1.1. But it’s a logarithmic scale, so the amount of shaking or the amplitude of the shaking that the people felt was almost 13 times greater in Morocco than what we felt here in Utah.” she said.
In addition to the shaking, Whidden says the Morocco earthquake produced a larger amount of energy.
“So almost 45 times the amount of energy was released, more energy was released in Morocco than here in Utah,” she said.
Quake similar to Morocco expected to hit in Utah
While the Morocco earthquake was a large one, it’s similar to what is expected to strike Utah, according to Whidden.
“We’re expecting a magnitude 7, maybe 7.5 earthquake on the Wasatch Fault.”
Due to construction techniques, Whidden says a earthquake of that magnitude wouldn’t be as devastating to Utah as it was in Morocco.
“But it would be very devastating for us as well,” she said.
She says a magnitude-5.5 earthquake would result in damage.
Whidden is asked when such an earthquake could occur in Utah.
“It could really happen at any time,” she said. “It could happen today [or] it could happen in 100 years. We can’t predict earthquakes, unfortunately.”
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.
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