Furniture will be knocked over; books and heavy valuables will be hurled across rooms. Buildings may be leveled and power lines may collapse. And after the shaking ends, fires will rage and aftershocks will continue to destabilize the valley.
That’s what Wasatch Front residents can expect when a major earthquake hits.
The state records hundreds of small earthquakes each year, but more damaging earthquakes happen about every 350-400 years, according to the Utah Geographical Survey.
And it has been roughly 350 years since the Wasatch fault’s last major earthquake.
Every year, the state stages a mock earthquake drill, the “Great Shakeout,” so that when the fault does rupture, people will be more prepared.
More than 920,000 Utahns planned to participate in Thursday’s 10:15 a.m. mock earthquake.
The drill is based on a worst-case-scenario 7.0-magnitude earthquake occurring along the Salt Lake City section of the Wasatch fault, and will include “drop, cover and hold on” exercises, as well as evacuations.
It’s also an annual reminder for residents to make an emergency kit and make a plan. Know where to meet your family after an earthquake. Have a three-day supply of water for each person in the house. Secure water heaters and heavy furniture.