Earthquake in Mexico sends ripples through California’s Death Valley

Mexico earthquake sends ripples through California’s Death Valley: A cave in Death Valley is surrounded by 4-foot waves caused by an earthquake in Mexico. The earthquake which hit Kolyma and Michoacán in western Mexico on September 19, had a magnitude of 7.6.

The effects of the earthquake’s vibrations could be seen in the Devil’s Hole of Death Valley more than a thousand miles away in the form of large ripples in the cave’s water. On the border between California and Nevada, about 130 miles west of Las Vegas, is Death Valley, the site of the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth.

Death Valley can get as hot as 134 degrees Fahrenheit and only gets 2.2 inches of rain annually, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While the park is generally dry, Devil’s Hole is a network of wet geothermal caves.

Only according to the National Park Service 100 and 180 Puppies from Devil’s Hole are left in the wild. This oasis is their only remaining natural habitat. Although Devil’s Hole is almost 430 feet deep, the pups only live in the top 80 feet.

The water in Devil’s Hole is often calm, rich in carbonates and low in oxygen. It averages about 93 degrees Fahrenheit. The algae that grows in the warm, still waters is what the pup relies on.

Earthquake in Mexico sends ripples through California's Death Valley
Earthquake in Mexico sends ripples through California’s Death Valley

However, the earthquake this week was so strong that22 minutes after the initial quake in mexico, its shockwaves caused waves 4 feet high to crash into the cave system.

At 11:05 am. local time, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck near the Colima-Michoacan border (PDT; 1:05 p.m. at the epicenter). National Park Service (NPS) staff who conducted the field survey saw the results firsthand.

The normally still water in the pool began to move slowly after five minutes and soon became waves several feet high. In a Facebook post, Death Valley National Park noted.

At Devil’s Hole, standing waves from the 2012 Guerrero-Oaxaca earthquakes, the 2018 Gulf of Alaska earthquake, and the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquake swept algae from the rocks, including eggs and larvae, cutting off fish access to food. Following these earthquakes, a similar influx of population was observed.

Other unusual water-related weather events have recently occurred in Death Valley, including heavy rains that followed the California heat wave in early September, which caused flash floods and waterfalls that were so devastating that they seriously damaged the road infrastructure.

The NPS believes that even if the fish are endangered and are used to their calm pool, the waves can encourage spawning, resulting in more fish being born in Devil’s Hole.

According to Death Valley National Park, “The Devil’s Hole Pup (Cyprinodon diabolis) itself has fortunately evolved with these kinds of periodic natural shocks and they were fine and swimming (happily?) afterwards.”

The staff expects an increase in spawning activity in the coming days, which should ideally lead to even more recruits joining the population, consistent with past observations.

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