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Small-scale earthquake shakes Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon’s magnificent walls came alive for a few seconds early last week when a minor earthquake struck the area.

Maureen Oltrogge, public affairs officer for Grand Canyon National Park, said she called the Arizona Earthquake Information Center after superintendent Robert Arnberger thought he had felt something. Sure enough, it was the first earthquake of the year.

The quake occurred at 8:57 a.m. on the morning of April 10. According to Doug Bausch, a geologist with the earthquake information center in Flagstaff, the quake measured 3.1 on the Richter Scale and was centered 20 miles northeast of Grand Canyon in the Nankoweap Mesa area.

“In the Canyon region, it seems like we get a lot of small events every week,” Bausch said. “But this was the first felt event since sometime last year.”

Following the earthquake, there were two measurable aftershocks later in the day which measured 2.5 and 2.7 on the Richter Scale.

“Arizona has a moderate rate (of earthquakes), most of them centered in northern Arizona from the Grand Canyon region up into Utah,” Bausch said. “We have a station right there at Grand Canyon Village, so we’re able to pick up most of the earthquakes.”

Grand Canyon has a history of earthquakes. In the Grand Canyon Village area, there were “swarms of earthquakes,” as Bauch described it, in 1987, 1989 and 1992. And back on April 29, 1993, the Cataract Creek earthquake occurred near Valle.

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