49°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
Sportsman’s Quest: Marines and a holiday hunt

In my last column I wrote about my “successful elk hunt” with my artist friend, Justin Young. It was a great adventure, but my freezer was still empty.

Pahrump Senior Center hosts Thanksgiving dinner

The Pahrump Senior Center served more than 200 meals on Wednesday for its annual Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

ICYMI: See photos from the Community Christmas Tree lighting

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, with the holidays officially in full-swing and the community ready to embrace all of the jolliness that the season brings.

Nascar tickets up for grabs at Bowl-A-Thon

This Sunday, the Pahrump Nugget Bowling Center will be taken over by supporters of America’s heroes during the Wounded Warriors Bowl-A-Thon and event organizer Denise Flanagan is excited to announce the addition of an extraordinarily generous donation to the cause.

Bowl-A-Thon to benefit Wounded Warriors

Hosted by local veteran Denise Flanagan, all of the money raised at the Bowl-A-Thon will be donated to Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that supports veterans.

PHOTOS: Quilts of Valor

Comfort and healing bestowed upon local veterans.