AZGS: Better Technology Helping Detect More Arizona Earthquakes

Published: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 11:02am
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2016 - 4:00pm
(Photo courtesy of Arizona Geological Survey)
More than 60 earthquake events have occurred in northwest Arizona since March 28, 2016.

If you've heard about more earthquakes in Arizona lately, credit advanced seismic detection technology from the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS).

On Tuesday, the AZGS reported more than 60 earthquake events have occurred in northwest Arizona since March 28.

Lee Allison, state geologist and director of the AZGS, said Arizona has probably had swarms in the past, but it is only in the last several years that equipment has been in place to detect them.

"In recent years, we've been able to deploy a network of seismometers across the state, and working with similar networks in Utah and Nevada, we are now able to monitor small earthquakes in parts of state where we never knew what was going on before," he said in a YouTube video released by the AZGS.

MORE: Live Map: Arizona Earthquakes In The Past 30 Days

This recent cluster of quakes has been recorded in the southern end of the Intermountain Seismic Belt, which stretches from western Montana to south of the Utah border. Residents have been feeling the quakes, but they haven't been large enough to cause damage, said Allison. The largest event was a 3.8 magnitude in Littlefield on May 5.

Allison said the earthquake swarm in the area is ongoing.

Seismic Activity In Arizona

This time-lapse video from AZGS shows recorded seismic activity in Arizona from 1852 to 2011. According to AZGS, the increase in activity in the last decade is due to improved monitoring.

Arizona Science Desk reporter Melissa Sevigny contributed to this report.

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