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Personalizing the Earthquake Threat

Map of earthquakes researched for this project

Earthquakes researched for this project.
Project Overview
Photographs, newspaper articles, and personal accounts of 48 historic earthquakes in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho (magnitude 5.5 and larger), and Utah (magnitude 5.0 and larger) have been compiled and used to increase public understanding of the earthquake threat in the Intermountain Seismic Belt. This World Wide Web page is one of four products produced for the general public from a research grant from the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (see Project credit). The other three products are a photo-illustrated manuscript entitled "Utahns' Earthquake Experience," scripted slide sets for public lectures and classroom use, and a traveling exhibit with explanatory notes. These efforts are intended to personalize the effect of the earthquake risk of current residents by presenting evidence of real impact on people and places that they can relate to.

Project Objectives
General Public Education: Those of us living in the Intermountain region of the western United States (principally Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah) are at risk to earthquakes due to our young, actively growing mountains. Many damaging earthquakes have occurred here since settlement, but most of today's inhabitants are unaware of them-and unaware of the impact they have had on people living in these communities. The earth seems solid underfoot, so we pay little heed to the scientists and emergency managers who advise us to prepare for earthquakes. Yet, we are at risk.

The data accessible through this Web page detail effects of earthquakes on real people living in these areas. The data include newspaper articles, individual accounts, other printed sources, and photographs. You are invited to casually browse and/or to research specific questions you may have. Learn what earthquakes have sounded like/felt like in this region; how they have affected peoples' lives, the landscape, the community; and what the recovery process was like. Our purpose is to help you better understand the earthquake threat of this region and to motivate you to prepare.

Provide Source Material for Researchers and Students: Descriptions of earthquakes and their effects are valuable source materials for a variety of research questions. Of particular importance is their use in seismic risk determination for a specific area. The newspaper articles provide rich detail of earthquake effects that could not be included in the catalogue summary accounts that are more readily available.

Information Available
The following information is available on an individual earthquake basis. Use the links below to access the list by date, magnitude, or intensity.
Summary by Earthquake: For each earthquake there is a detailed listing of the information available here-newspaper headlines, photographs, individual accounts, and excerpts from publications. The categories of information that each source provides is also listed.
Earthquakes researched for this Project: A catalog list of the earthquakes used in this project is organized by date, magnitude , or intensity.
Newspaper Research: For each earthquake a minimum of two statewide newspapers and one local newspaper were perused for relevant articles. Typed versions of all articles found are included in this database, except for articles that closely duplicate information.
Photographs: Photographs were obtained from newspaper archives, historical societies, and individuals responding to a request printed in local newspapers.
Individual Accounts: Personal accounts were collected from several sources- library files, earthquake survey responses, and written responses to requests printed in local newspapers. Interviews were also conducted and transcribed.
Additional Information: This category includes a list of reports, scientific journal articles, USGS professional papers, PhD dissertations or Masters theses, and excerpts from books published for a general public audience.
Categories of Information: Each account contains information regarding the impact of the earthquake, be it the geological effects, damage, recovery process, humor, or the effect on local citizens.

Project Credit
This Web Page and database are part of a larger "Personalizing the Earthquake Threat in the Intermountain Seismic Belt States" project (see Project Overview) funded by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), Cooperative Agreement No. 1434-95-G-2566 and by the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. This Webpage was created by C. Meier under the direction of D. O'Brien and S. Nava (nava@seis.utah.edu), principal investigators. Comments, questions, etc. should be directed to one of the principal investigators, or to webmaster@seis.utah.edu.

Although this project was partly funded by the United States Government and the State of Utah, this Web page and the data provided herein have not been reviewed for conformity with U.S. Government editorial standards. Opinions and conclusions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of the U.S. Government or the State of Utah. No legal liability or responsibility is assumed either for the accuracy or completeness of information contained in this database, or for damages resulting from the use of any information contained in this database.

Earthquakes researched for this project
  1. 1945 Flathead Lake, MT   M 5.5   11. 1944 Central Idaho   M 6.1
  2. 1952 Big Fork, MT   M 5.5   12. 1983 Borah Peak, ID (series)   M 7.3
  3. 1935 Helena, MT (series)   M 6   13. 1905 Shoshone, ID   M 5
  4. 1928 Helena, MT   M 5   14. 1994 Draney Peak, ID   M5.9
  5. 1929 Lombard, MT   M 5.6   15. 1930 Grover, WY   M5.8
  6. 1925 Clarkston Valley, MT   M 6   16. 1975 Pocatello Valley, ID   M 6.0
  7. 1947 Virginia City, MT   M 6   17. 1962 Cache Valley, UT   M 5.7
  8. 1959 Hebgen Lake, MT (series)   M 7.5   18. 1884 Bear River, ID   M 6.3
  9. 1975 Yellowstone Park, Wy   M 6.1   19. 1909 Hansel Valley, UT   M 6
  10. 1945 Central Idaho   M 6.0   20. 1934 Hansel Valley, UT(series)   M 6.6

  21. 1914 Ogden, UT   M 5   31. 1961 Ephraim, UT   M 5.0
  22. 1894 Ogden, UT   M 5.0   32. 1988 San Rafael Swell, UT   M 5.3
  23. 1910 Salt Lake City, UT   M 5   33. 1989 S. Wasatch Plateau, UT   M 5.4
  24. 1949 Salt Lake City, UT   M 5.0   34. 1901 Southern Utah   M 6
  25. 1943 Magna, UT   M 5.0   35. 1945 Glenwood, UT   M 5.0
  26. 1962 Magna, UT   M 5.2   36. 1910 Elsinore, UT(series)   M 5.0
  27. 1958 Wallsburg, UT   M 5.0   37. 1921 Elsinore, UT(series)   M 6
  28. 1915 Provo, UT   M 5.0   38. 1967 Marysvale, UT   M 5.2
  29. 1900 Eureka, UT   M 5   39. 1908 Milford, UT   M 5.0
  30. 1876 Moroni, UT   M 5.0   40. 1959 Panguitch, UT   M 5.0

  41. 1933 Parowan, UT   M 5.0   45. 1992 St. George, UT   M 5.8
  42. 1942 Cedar City, UT   M 5.0   46. 1891 St. George, UT   M 5.0
  43. 1942 Cedar City, UT   M 5.0   47. 1887 Kanab, UT   M 5.7
  44. 1902 Pine Valley UT(series)   M 6   48. 1959 Southwest Utah   M 5.7
Sort these earthquakes by date, magnitude, or intensity and view more information.

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