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California Quakes Felt In Arizona

earthquake map
U.S. Geological Survey
U.S. Geological Survey's earthquake map in the area of Southern California on July 5, 2019.

Last week’s earthquakes in California were felt by some in Phoenix.

The state’s Geological Survey Office at the University of Arizona said while some areas of the state could experience similar magnitude quakes, 98% of those that do occur go unfelt.

“8:21 on the air here. We’re experiencing very strong shaking. I think we need to get under the desk."

That was the nervous reaction Friday night by two TV news anchors for KCAL/KCBS in Los Angeles who took cover during a live news segment.

The quakes were felt as far east as the Phoenix area, according to Mike Conway with the Arizona Geological Survey. 

“We get probably about 100 earthquakes a year and, for the most part, they’re unfelt. We simply detect them using our seismometers. But we get one or two felt earthquakes a year here in Arizona,” Conway said. 

Satellite imagery provided by Planet Labs Inc. showed a scar in the landscape that was visible from space. Conway said a similar-sized quake could occur in Arizona. 

“There are faults in this state that are capable of ripping at a magnitude 6 to a magnitude 7 plus. The frequency of that is very low and so we don’t see the same sorts of seismic activity as they see in California," Conway said. 

He added the Flagstaff, Prescott, Yuma and Tucson areas have a reasonable probability of strong quakes like those in California.

Tom Maxedon was the host of KJZZ’s Weekend Edition from 2017 to 2024.