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Sedona Earthquake: No Major Damage, Injuries From 4.7-Magnitude Tremor

By    |   Monday, 01 December 2014 01:46 PM

A Sedona earthquake rattled residents in northern Arizona over the weekend but, fortunately, the 4.7-magnitude tremor didn't cause any major damage or injuries.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake that hit Sunday night was centered 7 miles north of Sedona and 6 miles underground, according to The Associated Press. There were no immediate damage or injury reports, though workers had to clear some rocks and debris from a highway between Sedona and Flagstaff.

"Business as usual," said David Brumbaugh, director of the Arizona Earthquake Information Center at Northern Arizona University. "It's nothing unusual to have earthquakes in this part of the state. Most of them are too small to be felt."

Still, more than 1,200 people used the U.S. Geological Survey's website to report that they'd felt the quake.

"I think what I heard was the house kind of rattling," said Donna Kearney Lomeo, a Sedona real estate agent. "It sounded like a bunch of balls rolling around on the roof."

Here are things to know about earthquakes in Arizona.


Earthquakes shake all corners of the state, but they're far more prevalent in northern Arizona and relatively infrequent in the desert cities where the vast majority of Arizonans live.

"You ask a lot of people around the state whether we have earthquakes and they can't believe we do — and we certainly do," said Jeri Young, a research geologist in Phoenix for the Arizona Geological Survey, a state agency.

While the U.S. Geological Survey lists a 5.6-magnitude quake on the Arizona-Utah border in 1959 as Arizona's strongest, Brumbaugh and Young said the largest quakes on record were three in northern Arizona that ranged in the 6.0-6.2-magnitude and occurred between 1906 and 1912.


Unlike California, Arizona has had no earthquake in recorded history that caused deaths or injuries, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

However, the 1906-1912 quakes caused boulders to roll down from nearby mountains onto a Coconino National Forest construction crew's camp, ripped a 50-mile crack in the earth north of the San Francisco Peaks and damaged houses in Williams.

Recent data recorded 10-15 mostly small earthquakes monthly in Arizona, but northwestern Arizona has faults capable of generating a 7.0 quake, Young said.

That was the magnitude of the 2010 quake that killed more than 300,000 people in Haiti.


Northern Arizona is at the southern end of a seismic belt that extends northward into Canada, Brumbaugh said.

Young said scientists will analyze sensor data from the Sunday night quake "to find out where the stresses are."

Unknown for now is whether it is a precursor to a larger one yet to come, Young said. "As time goes on the probability that was the main event becomes greater."

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A Sedona earthquake rattled residents in northern Arizona over the weekend but, fortunately, the 4.7-magnitude tremor didn't cause any major damage or injuries.
sedona, earthquake, arizona, damage, injuries
Monday, 01 December 2014 01:46 PM
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