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Jan 08

Arizona is earthquake country … really

Yesterday a small magnitude 3.1 earthquake shook near the Arizona-Utah border. It was centered 22 miles from Page, AZ and 82 miles east of Hurricane, UT and was even felt in sections of Nevada.

USGS spokeswoman Leslie Gordon says the quake’s intensity was small enough that only people who were fairly close to the epicenter would have felt it. USGS explains the Colorado Plateau is an area of low seismic activity and any earthquakes that have struck there typically have been small.

But … it is a good reminder that our state is not immune to earthquakes.

The incident also reminded me about a cool AZGS resource that Jonathan DuHamel wrote about in October.

According to DuHamel, the Arizona Geological Survey released a well-illustrated 44-page booklet that can be downloaded for free (8Mb PDF) called Arizona is earthquake country.

The book is intended as a guide on how to prepare for and minimize damage from the ground shaking that accompanies earthquakes. It also explains the geology of earthquakes and why they occur.

Here is the AZGS April 2012 press release:

Young, active faults exist in and around Arizona. The northern Arizona Seismic Belt, which bisects Coconino County, hosts the greatest concentration of active faults in the state and is the most seismically active region in Arizona. Some faults, such as the Lake Mary Fault just south of Flagstaff, are capable of large magnitude earthquakes, up to magnitude 7. Yavapai, Mohave, Yuma, Pima, Cochise, Graham, and Greenlee County all host faults capable of delivering moderate to large seismic events, too. And large earthquakes on faults from surrounding states and Mexico, including California’s San Andreas fault system, are capable of damaging homes and infrastructure and threatening lives here in Arizona.

“Arizona is Earthquake Country” includes a seven-step earthquake safety guide that shows how to prepare your family and home in advance of an earthquake; how to behave during an earthquake – whether indoors or out; and how to deal with damage and related issues immediately following an earthquake.

The booklet provides a primer on the nature and geology of earthquakes in Arizona, describes six prominent faults, and revisits three major historic earthquakes that impacted the state. Instructions on how to use the U.S. Geological Survey’s online earthquake probability tool to establish the risk of a damaging earthquake in your community are also provided. Sections on monitoring earthquakes, earthquake resources – including online resources, and a glossary, round out the text.

This earthquake preparedness guide is released just in time to complement Arizona’s first-ever Great Arizona ShakeOut, a two-minute “Drop, Cover, and Hold On” earthquake drill that can minimize personal injuries and save lives. …

Citation: Arizona Geological Survey, 2012, Arizona is Earthquake Country. Down-to-Earth #21, 44p.

Besides the features mentioned in the press release above, the book also discusses how we measure the magnitude of an earthquake; it’s not the old Richter Scale anymore. Links to additional resources are given at the end of the book. For instance, for teachers in middle and high school, there is a link for earth science lesson plans and activities. There are also several links to earthquake websites maintained by government and universities.

See also:

Earthquake videos from Arizona Geological Survey

The Great Arizona-Sonora Earthquake of 1887

Copyrighted by Jonathan DuHamel.

Also visit the American Preppers Network Natural Disasters subforum and join the Earthquakes 101 and Earthquakes: Safety and mitigation tips discussions.