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Finding fault: UVU geology students predict the next ‘big one’

Working inside a 6-foot deep trench, UVU geology students mapped a section of the Wasatch Fault Line this summer near Payson and potentially identified two prehistoric earthquakes along that sector. In addition to getting hands-on experience in what they’re learning in class, these students are helping state geologists acquire data that could help predict the valley’s next “big one.”

Danny Horns, a UVU geology professor, annually takes his students to different locations along the faultline, which runs from Salt Lake City to Nephi, to carry out applied science relevant to Utahns’ safety during future quakes. While most college geology programs work out of the same sites year after year, UVU students are contributing practical and critical information to the science of geology in Utah, he said.

“Here the students are learning something new to them, and new to the world. They are discovering something no one else knows: when the most recent earthquake on this part of the fault was,” Horns said.

Learn more about the UVU Earth Science Program.

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