What the Wasatch fault can teach us about earthquakes

Alexis AultEarthquakes, such as those along the Wasatch fault, occur on thin fault surfaces deep inside the Earth. During an earthquake, friction causes intense heat that can transform fault materials. Depending on the type of transformation, this may facilitate or prevent future earthquakes on the same fault surface.

Dr. Alexis Ault’s research group at Utah State University studies fault rocks that have moved over time from deep within the Earth to the surface. They use new tools and technology, while also employing proven techniques in new ways, to spark major breakthroughs in our ability to document nanoscale changes in chemical-makeup and texture, as well as the evolution of temperature, along fault surfaces.

Gaining new perspectives on the mechanics and the million-year history of earthquakes on our own Wasatch fault provides insights to evaluate modern seismic hazards.

See the presentation live at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, November 5 from 7:30-9 a.m.

About the presenter

Alexis Ault is a thermochronologist; her research pushes the boundaries of low-temperature thermochronology to document the temperatures and timing of fundamental Earth processes.

To support this work, she maintains a dynamic, externally-funded research program including grants from the National Science Foundation and Southern California Earthquake Center. Alexis is the recipient of the 2019 Early Career Award from the International Standing Committee on Thermochronology, as well as many other awards and recognitions.

Outside of her research, Alexis finds inspiration while pedaling her mountain bike and has won several endurance mountain bike races.

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