Earthquakes in Arizona are rare - Tucson News Now

Earthquakes in Arizona are rare

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The earthquake that hit Southern Arizona on Saturday night at 9:59 PM is rare, no…its extremely rare. Aftershocks, however, are not rare AFTER an initial earthquake.  We had a 3.5 magnitude aftershock Monday at 9:54 AM. Aftershocks are essentially smaller earthquakes that occur after one big earthquake. They can occur for days, weeks, or even years after the earthquake.

The Tucson seismograph captured this image of Saturday's quake:

Seismograph from Tucson, AZ showing Saturday earthquake

The 5.2 magnitude earthquake centered in Southern Greenlee County gave people a jolt from Safford to Douglas, Sierra Vista to Tucson. It only lasted for a few seconds, but it was strong enough that many people stopped what they were doing to pay attention. Although no injuries or damage was reported, we wanted to take a look at how rare these events really are.

Earthquakes in Arizona 1973 - Now (4.0 or higher)

Unlike California, Arizona experiences very little seismic activity. Not including the most recent quake, the USGS records show only eight earthquakes measuring 4.0 or larger since 1973. Interestingly enough, if you look at earthquakes measuring 5.0 or higher, that number drops to just three quakes, with the largest measuring at 5.3 near Flagstaff in 1993.

Earthquake map in Arizona - 5.0 or larger shown

A study published by the USGS in 1970 shows only 12 moderate earthquakes inside the borders since Arizona became a state in 1912.

According to the USGS, "no earthquake in recorded history has caused deaths or injuries in Arizona."

If you would like to read more about the history of earthquakes in Arizona, please click here.   

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