University of Utah seismologists hope to reap a treasure of long-term research data from last Monday's moderate Salt Lake Valley earthquake.
In particular, scientists want to study how the valley's subsurface soils reacted to wave motions from the quake, which measured 4.3 magnitude on the Richter scale.Researchers expect to draw information from 10 portable seismographs placed throughout the valley last fall. The quake's epicenter was just southwest of Herriman.
The portable seismographs were acquired for several months from the National Science Foundation by James Pechmann of the U.'s seismograph stations and Gerard Schuster, an associate professor of geology and geophysics.
Schuster and doctoral student Kim Olsen are using a supercomputer to create three-dimensional images of simulated seismic waves passing through underground soils as deep as the Wasatch Mountains are high.
Their goal is to predict the effects of low-frequency ground motion in various areas of the Salt Lake Valley. That information could be used by planners, engineers and architects to design buildings more capable of withstanding strong shaking.
In coming weeks, Schuster and seismograph-stations personnel will go out to the portable seismographs and download their data into a university computer.
Sue Nava, senior staff seismologist at the university, said several weeks or months would be devoted to analyzing the data before any definitive conclusions can be reached.
Schuster is confident the real quake will enhance his study, which should be done by 1993.
"We should have some interesting things to say in a year or so," he said.