Earthquakes and the fault line in El Paso

El Paso News

There is geological evidence that there is a fault line on the East Side of the Franklin Mountains.

Friday’s 7.1 Earthquake in California was recorded at UTEP with instruments on campus. We went to UTEP to find out more on the research and the fault line in our area.

“We would record the ground shaking quite strongly here in El Paso. Even though it is a distant earthquake, it’s large enough,” said Dr. Diane Doser, a Geological Science professor.

A seismograph creates waves. The taller they are the stronger the motion. Before it was recorded on paper, now it’s done online.

UTEP seismogram of California 7.1 quake

“Our seismograph is located in a vault that is carved back into the Sunbowl,” said Doser.

Doser said the seismograph on campus picks up a lot of activity no one in El Paso can even feel; from California’s major earthquakes to minor activity in El Paso.

“Most people are surprised to find out that we have some earthquakes here,” she said.

Another thing people are sometimes surprised to hear is about El Paso’s fault line.

“We do have geological evidence that there is a fault line on the East side of the Franklin Mountains,” Doser said. “Each time you have an earthquake you’re going to have the ground separate. The Franklin Mountains are moving up and the Hueco Bolson is moving down.”

However, major earthquakes that have made an impact in the terrain are extremely rare compared to other parts of the country.

“Four earthquakes in 64 thousand years is a lot different than California where they can have a magnitude 7 earthquake maybe every 20 or 30 years,” said Doser.

To see the map of the fault in El Paso click here.

For a scenario of an earthquake in El Paso click here.

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