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M5.7 EARTHQUAKE IN SALT LAKE CITY

On March 18, 2020 at 7:09am local time a moderate, magnitude 5.7 earthquake struck the Salt Lake City area in Utah. The epicenter (40.7512, -112.0808) was located 10 miles west of downtown Salt Lake City. This earthquake was shallow at 10km depth and caused damage to older unreinforced masonry buildings and unbraced equipment. Newer construction is expected to see minimal damage.

The SLC area is known as one of the more seismically active areas of the United States and has been preparing for earthquakes since the 1990s. At this level of shaking (M5.7), buildings of older construction that have not been seismically retrofitted will see cracking and parapet damage. Unreinforced masonry (URM) and historical buildings have sustained most of this damage. Moderate earthquakes will move, and sometimes topple, unanchored equipment and unbraced piping; which will sway and tear and/or break at connections and attachments, leading to release of gases and liquids. Unbraced suspended ceilings will fall.

No casualties or building collapses have been reported thus far, most damage is URM cracking and parapet failures, equipment movement and sprinkler piping breakage.

The Salt Lake City International Airport terminal sustained sprinkler line damage that resulted in water leakage.
Several aftershocks up to magnitude 4.6 occurred within the vicinity after the main event, which is a common occurrence for several days following a moderate earthquake event.

“Damage to businesses is expected to be moderate to low, with damage to shifting equipment and sprinkler line breaks and leakage, and fallen suspended ceilings when unbraced,” reports Tom Chan, Principal and Practice Leader of TÜV SÜD GRC’s Natural Hazards Analysis group.

If clients are affected by this event, please contact us directly so we can assist you during this time.

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