Earthquake in Mexico creates ‘desert tsunami’ 1,500 miles away in Death Valley National Park

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ONE Earthquake with a magnitude of 7.6 that rattled Mexico on Monday sent shock waves that triggered a “desert tsunami” in a cave system 1,500 miles away in Death Valley National Park in Nevada, officials said.

The earthquake shook Central Pacific Coast of Mexico, kill at least one person. About 22 minutes after the earthquake struck, tremors sent 4-foot-high waves lapping at Devils Hole, the National Park Service (NPS) said.

Devils Hole is a partially water-filled limestone cave in Nye County, Nevada, and is hundreds of feet deep, according to the NPS.

It is home to the endangered Devils Hole pupfish, which depends on algae growing on a shallow, sunlit shelf as a food source.

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Officials described the “surprising quirk of geology” as a “desert tsunami” but said it is correct known as a “seiche. A seiche is a standing wave in an enclosed body of water.

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in western Mexico triggered waves that splashed around Devils Hole at Death Valley National Park in Arizona, officials said.

A magnitude 7.6 earthquake in western Mexico triggered waves that splashed around Devils Hole at Death Valley National Park in Arizona, officials said.
(National Park Service/Ambre Chaudoin)

The waves stirred the rocks and sediment on the shallow shelf and removed most of the algal growth, limiting the amount of food available to the pupfish in the short term, the NPS said.

“The pupfish have survived several of these events in recent years,” said Kevin Wilson, National Park Service aquatic ecologist. “We found no dead fish after the waves stopped.”

Officials said Devils Hole puppy fish the population has been steadily growing, with 175 fish living in Devils Hole in March, compared to just 35 nine years ago.

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On Thursday morning, another 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck western Mexico, killing at least two people. It was not immediately clear if Devils Hole experienced the same phenomenon.

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