How Prepared is Wyoming for a Major Earthquake

CASPER, Wyo. We deal with hazards every day, whether it's wind, rain, or snow.

The biggest worry doesn't come with any of those but from earthquakes.

Areas around us are seismically active, but most quakes aren't felt.

The same can't be said for our neighbors in western Wyoming, who live along the Teton fault.

"We know by visiting it, that the Teton fault has broken, many times in the past. And that the Teton range is actively moving up relative to the Jackson Hole valley floor, which is going down." Said Dr. Kent Sundell of Casper College.

Sundell demonstrated the result when a fault releases its energy at once.

"Eventually if you put more energy on it, It breaks."

The energy released can travel hundreds of miles.

"Where you can break a hundred-mile-long fault, then you're talking about enormous amounts of energy." Explained Sundell.

Earthquakes create their own hazards, including landslides and aftershocks.

Emergency managers urge residents to have an emergency kit ready able to last up to weeks and know the hazards common to your area.

"I think it starts with the basics and knowing what the hazards are. So being informed is what it comes down to of knowing what you might be exposed to locally. So is it a wildfire, or is it a flood, is it an earthquake, is it a volcano, whatever it may be." Stressed Greg Haberstock of the American Red Cross.

Having a plan can help when an earthquake or other disaster hits, and can save your life.