Rocky Mountain Section - 72nd Annual Meeting - 2020

Paper No. 4-9
Presentation Time: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM


FAIRCHILD, Megan E.1, DODSON, Marcus K.1, RIVERA, Tiffany A.2 and AMBURGEY, Jonathan1, (1)Westminster College, 1840 S 1300 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84105, (2)Geology Program, Westminster College, 1840 South 1300 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84105

The Salt Lake Valley is home to the Wasatch Fault, which is at risk for a magnitude ≥6 earthquake in the next 50 years. Westminster College is located on this fault and such an event would severely impact the campus community in terms of economic loss, injury, and death. However, these consequences could be mitigated through better earthquake education and preparedness efforts. This study assessed three areas: 1) knowledge and preparedness of Westminster students, faculty, and staff regarding earthquake hazards; 2) the effectiveness of an interactive seismometer display to facilitate learning about earthquakes and the risks of living near a fault; and 3) the effectiveness of that display in motivating increased earthquake safety behaviors. The larger goal of this study is to determine if an interactive seismometer display is an effective tool for Westminster College to teach and prepare its community in the future.

Survey data collected from members of the Westminster community assessed participant knowledge, preparedness, and safety behaviors in the event of an earthquake. This longitudinal study consisted of three parts, during which participants completed one pre-test and two post-tests. Participants reported their personal knowledge and perception of earthquake hazards before and after interacting with a functioning seismometer exhibit and reviewing informational signage. The second post-test survey was completed two weeks after interaction with the exhibit to investigate changes in safety behaviors and earthquake preparedness.This study has implications for the improvement of our campus community’s preparedness efforts and reduction of the consequences of a major earthquake.