140 earthquakes have hit Utah in two weeks. Here’s what the Utah Division of Emergency Management says you should do to minimize quake damage

University of Utah Seismograph Stations

SALT LAKE CITY — A total of 139 earthquakes occurred in the Bluffdale, Utah, area between Feb. 13 and Feb. 25, the University of Utah Seismographic Stations reported Tuesday.

In addition to the Bluffdale quakes, an unrelated 4.0 magnitude quake occurred in Kanosh, Utah, on Feb. 20, adding to a seismically active February and prompting statewide concern from Utahns wondering if the long-expected “big one” is on the horizon.

The Utah Division of Emergency Management took to its Facebook page this week to answer a common question: how much damage might an earthquake cause to homes?

According to the DEM, there are multiple factors Utahns should be aware of that can determine how well a home survives an earthquake.

Construction/building age: Wood-framed homes typically do better than masonry, according to the DEM. Most modern buildings built after 1975 should be able to stand up long enough for evacuation, but aftershocks can bring down buildings that withstand the initial shock. Retrofitting is generally recommended for unreinforced homes.

To see a guide on retrofitting your home, click here.

Distance: The farther from an earthquake epicenter you are, the safer you will be, according to the DEM. In an instance of a big earthquake in Salt Lake City, strong shaking could be felt as far north as Ogden and as far south as Provo.

Less energy and shaking will reach you if you’re farther from the epicenter.

Geology: If you’re looking to move, the DEM recommends building on bedrock, as homes located in liquefaction zones can tilt in earthquakes, whereas houses built on bedrock transfer energy faster. Because most northern Utah valleys were once part of Lake Bonneville, they fall into liquefaction zones.

The Utah Geological Survey provides geological hazard maps and information on how to avoid liquefaction zones on their website.

Best safety action: In an earthquake, you are more at risk of being injured by nonstructural objects falling on you than building collapses. According to DEM, the best action you can take during an earthquake is to drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops.

Utah will hold a statewide “ShakeOut” to practice earthquake safety on April 18. Learn more about the “ShakeOut” here and follow more updates from the Utah DEM here.

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