45°F
weather icon Clear

Mexican earthquake sloshes 4-foot waves at Devils Hole

In a surprising quirk of geology, Monday’s magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Mexico triggered 4-foot-tall waves in Devils Hole, a detached unit of Death Valley National Park in Nye County’s Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.

Video footage of the “desert tsunami” on the park’s website shows the ripples that were made here.

The earthquake shook the Mexican states of Colima and Michoacán at 11:05 a.m. Twenty-two minutes later, water started sloshing 1,500 miles away in Devils Hole. The waves reached 4 feet high around 11:35 a.m.

Devils Hole is a partially water-filled limestone cave near the Inyo County, Calif. line. The cave is hundreds of feet deep, but the endangered Devils Hole pupfish depend upon algae that grows on a shallow, sunlit shelf.

Monday’s waves, technically known as a “seiche,” stirred the sediment and rocks on the shallow shelf, also removing much of the algae growth. In the short term, this reduces food available to the pupfish.

“The pupfish have survived several of these events in recent years,” said Kevin Wilson, National Park Service aquatic ecologist. “We didn’t find any dead fish after the waves stopped.”

The Devils Hole pupfish population has been on an upswing lately. Nine years ago, there were only 35 fish in their natural habitat. In March of this year, the population was up to 175 fish. The annual fall pupfish count is planned for this weekend.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Pahrump | Upcoming events

SATURDAY, JAN. 7

DAN SIMMONS: The hunt for new possibilities

It’s a new year with new opportunities and possibilities. Now it is time to set our priorities and make plans. My friend Bill Wilson did just that this past year as he set his sights on an African Cape Buffalo safari in Zimbabwe.

PHOTOS: Community Christmas Eve Dinner serves 700-plus

Taking place on Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, the Community Christmas Dinner saw a large turnout of hundreds of area residents and visitors, all of whom were greeted with enthusiasm by an army of volunteers.

How you can help the Toys for Tots drive

Here in the Pahrump Valley, Toys for Tots is headed by the Marine Corps League Detachment #1199.

Did you miss Santa Claus in Beatty? Here’s how you can see him again

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be passing out gifts at the Beatty Volunteer Fire Department’s Santa Night at the Beatty Community Center on Friday, Dec. 16, starting at 6 p.m., where there will also be hot cocoa and coffee and baked good treats for all.

Pahrump philanthropist and businessman Ron Frazier dies

Frazier, a native of Wisconsin, was the owner of Frazier Furniture store on Calvada Boulevard and owner of the popular Pahrump Life Magazine. He was also the co-founder of Pahrump’s annual Chili-Festival at Petrack Park.

NyE Communities Coalition: A 20-year retrospective

The CEO and one of the founders of the nonprofit reflects on two decades of serving the community ahead of the agency’s 20th anniversary.