Best Earth-Shaking Science - 2012
"Seismicity Within Arizona During the Deployment of the EarthScope USArray Transportable Array"
Here in Phoenix, we may live with extreme heat and monsoon storms — but since pretty much forever, Arizonans have been able to cling to the fact that at least we don't live in a place that has earthquakes. That is, until now. A study conducted by ASU researchers at the School of Earth and Space Exploration using EarthScope data revealed nearly 1,000 quakes over a three-year period from April 2007 through November 2010. Thankfully, most of the seismic activity — 91 percent, in fact — consists of "microquakes," which register magnitudes of 2.0 or below and are not usually felt by humans. While several hundred earthquakes per year may seem high, lead researcher Jeffrey Lockridge points out that most of the state had never been seismically monitored before this, making his the first comprehensive earthquake catalog for the state. Pardon us if we feel a little shaky after that news.