Seismicity map of the state of Arizona

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1852

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This map is one of a series of seismicity maps produced by the U. S. Geological Survey that show earthquake data of individual states or groups of states at the scale of 1:1,000,000. This map shows only those earthquakes with epicenters located within the boundaries of Arizona, even though earthquakes in nearby states or countries may have been felt or may have caused damage in Arizona.

The data in table 1 were used to compile the seismicity map; these data are a corrected, expanded, and updated (through 1982) version of the data used by Algermissen (1969) for a study of seismic risk in the United States. The locations and intensities of some earthquakes were revised and intensities were assigned where none had been before. Many earthquakes were added to the original list from new data sources as well as from some old data sources that had not been previously used. The data in table 1 represent best estimates of the location of the epicenter, magnitude, and intensity of each earthquake on the basis of historical and current information. Some of the aftershocks from large earthquakes are listed, but tot all, especially for earthquakes that occurred before seismic instruments were universally used.

Table 1 includes earthquakes reported felt in Yuma, Arizona that had no corroborating reports from other areas. These events are listed with coordinates (32.7°N., 114.6° W.) near Yuma even though it is suspected that they may have actually occurred in the Imperial Valley, California or Baja California, Mexico. Very few earthquakes have been instrumentally located near Yuma and it is believed that most historical felt reports correspond to earthquakes that occurred in the seismic zone extending from the Gulf of California northward into California. It is known that some earthquakes located graphically from phase data prior to epicenter determinations by electronic computer were erroneously located in southern Arizona and actually had locations in the Gulf of California or northern Mexico.

For detailed descriptions of the effects of earthquakes in Arizona see Bulletin 193, Arizona earthquakes, 1776-1980 (reference 343) which lists the localities where the earthquakes were felt and the effects at each place. This publication also includes isoseismal maps for 41 events.

The latitude and longitude coordinates of each epicenter were rounded to the nearest tenth of a degree and sorted so that all identical locations were grouped and counted. These locations are represented on the map by a triangle. The number of earthquakes at each location is shown on the map by the arabic number to the right of the triangle. The Roman numeral to the left of the triangle is the maximum Modified Mercalli intensity (Wood and Neumann, 1931) of al 1 earthquakes with epicenters at that geographic location. The absence of an intensity value indicates that no intensities have been assigned to earthquakes at that location. The year shown below each triangle is the latest year for which the maximum intensity was recorded.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Seismicity map of the state of Arizona
Series title:
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Plate: 49.25 x 37.11 inches
United States
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