The Wasatch fault zone (WFZ) forms the eastern boundary of the Basin and Range province and is the longest continuous, active normal fault (343 km) in the United States. It underlies an urban corridor of 1.6 million people (80% of Utah's population) representing the largest earthquake risk in the interior of the western United States. The authors have used paleoseismological data to identify 10 discrete segments of the WFZ. Five are active, medial segments with Holocene slip rates of 1-2 mm a-1, recurrence intervals of 2000-4000 years and average lengths of about 50 km. Five are less active, distal segments with mostly pre-Holocene surface ruptures, late Quaternary slip rates of <0.5 mm a-1, recurrence intervals of ???10,000 years and average lengths of about 20 km. Surface-faulting events on each of the medial segments of the WFZ formed 2-4-m-high scarps repeatedly during the Holocene. Paleoseismological records for the past 6000 years indicate that a major surface-rupturing earthquake has occurred along one of the medial segments about every 395 ?? 60 years. However, between about 400 and 1500 years ago, the WFZ experienced six major surface-rupturing events, an average of one event every 220 years, or about twice as often as expected from the 6000-year record. Evidence has been found that surface-rupturing events occurred on the WFZ during the past 400 years, a time period which is twice the average intracluster recurrence interval and equal to the average Holocene recurrence interval.
Additional Publication Details
Wasatch fault zone, Utah - segmentation and history of Holocene earthquakes