Do our small quakes mean the big one is coming?

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Seismologists say it really is just a fluke. 

Bluffdale has seen 106 small earthquakes over the last week, causing residents up and down the valley to wonder what this increased activity means. 

Jim Pechmann is a seismologist with the University of Utah; he explained that though we like to think that a larger than average number of these smaller quakes means something for the future, they simply don’t. “We don’t really have any evidence that they’re related, I think it’s just a matter of statistics.”

Lots of smaller earthquakes do not mean that “the big one” (meaning a magnitude 6.75 or higher) will come any sooner, nor do they relieve pressure and lower the likelihood of a large earthquake. 

Pechmann says Utah is earthquake territory and we should all be prepared with a few things: 

  • 72-hour kits stocked with food, water, and clothing
  • pay attention to the seismic safety of the buildings that you live and work in
  • a home evacuation plan
  • remove heavy items from tall places that might fall on you in your sleep

In the event of an earthquake, seismologists say DROP to your knees, COVER your neck while crawling to a secure place like under a table, and HOLD tightly to a secure object. 

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