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Jul 9, 2014 8:05 PM by John Patrick

Aftershocks continue to follow Duncan quake

TUCSON - The Arizona Geological Survey is casting a ‘seismic net' to further understand the Duncan earthquake.

Nearly two weeks, and up to hundreds of aftershocks later, Michael Conway, Chief of the Geological Extension Service, said the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) is still working hard to figure out what is going on under the Earth's surface near Duncan, AZ.

The magnitude 5.2 earthquake that shook the region from El Paso, TX to Phoenix, AZ may not have caused a lot of damage but it did shake up a lot of people.

"A lot of people are concerned so we're trying to get a better handle on that so we can inform people on what to anticipate and what to expect," said Conway.

The area around Southern Greenlee County has had up to 200 aftershocks, nine of which have been between M2.8-M3.6. The most recent was an M3.6 that struck around 1am Wednesday morning and according to Conway there may be even larger aftershocks to come.

The AZGS has been casting a 'seismic net' around the epicenter of the June 28 quake, with five portable seismometers now gathering valuable data. The team's main goal is to learn more about the structure causing the quakes.

"We'll be able to move forward and find a fault plane there and get a better understanding of the geometry of the plane and how that is moving over time," explained Conway.

Senior Geologist Jon Spencer said the activity in the area may mark a transition between Basin and Range extension due to a normal fault. The Duncan quake and aftershocks may be considered weak when compared to others but a normal fault can still pack a punch.

The 1887 magnitude 7.2 earthquake south of Douglas that killed 51 people was along a similar fault.

"If we had something like that today it would be a very bad thing and we would have a lot of collapsed buildings," said Spencer.

Arizona earthquakes will continue. In 2013 the state had over 100 earthquakes and with the activity near Duncan, AZ we will likely see even more than that this year.

For more information on earthquake preparedness visit The Arizona Geological Survey here.

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