Arizona is earthquake country

The Arizona Geological Survey has just released a new, well-illustrated 44-page book that can be downloaded for free (8Mb) : 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 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. Scheduled for 10:18 a.m. on October 18th, enrollment in the ShakeOut drill is open to all, but K-12 schools are particularly encouraged to participate; for online enrollment visit the Register Here! page. To date, more than 13,300 have enrolled in ShakeOut.

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.




  1. Looks to me that the transition zone from the Colorado Plateau to the Basin and Range is an active fault zone. My question is – what’s moving? The plateau or the basin and range?

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