Sept. 19th Mexican Earthquake Sloshes Devils Hole; Pupfish Appear to be Okay 

photo NPS/Ambre Chaudoin

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – In a surprising quirk of geology, Monday’s magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Mexico triggered four-foot-tall waves in Devils Hole, located in Death Valley National Park. Video footage of the “desert tsunami” is available on the Park’s website at nps.gov/deva/learn/news/9-19-2022.htm.

The earthquake shook the Mexican states of Colima and Michoacán at 11:05 am Pacific Daylight Time. Five minutes later, water started sloshing 1,500 miles away in Devils Hole. The waves reached 4 feet high around 11:35 am.

Devils Hole is a partially water-filled limestone cave in a Nye County, Nevada unit of Death Valley National Park.  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 have been on an upswing lately. Nine years ago, there were only 35 fish in their natural habitat. In March this year, the population was up to 175 fish. The annual fall pupfish count is planned for this weekend.

6 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
desco
desco
3 months ago

Read the second paragraph. It was not a “Mexican” earthquake, it was an earthquake in Mexico.

Obviously
Obviously
3 months ago
Reply to  desco

Read the headline and follow the link. NPS called it a “Mexican Earthquake”.

John
John
3 months ago
Reply to  Obviously

They are confusing the Earthquake in Mexico with the “illegal immigrant earthquake” in Eagle River, Texas. One is a movement of earth, the other is a movement of people.

David Dennison
David Dennison
3 months ago
Reply to  John

…and this sort of thing,the wording of it,some seeing it and some feeling it’s somehow political calling it that…thanks to “the great divider”,that “other guy” when he stated and insulted China by calling and blaming China for COVID back in 2020..”The China Virus ” I’m sure whoever wrote this article… Read more »

Laughter is good medicine
Laughter is good medicine
3 months ago
Reply to  David Dennison

It might help to learn to recognize sarcasm and satire. I think most of us just got a little chuckle from the title and most of the comments. Going into political apoplexy at every little thing can’t be healthy. Try assuming it’s all meant as humor and give yourself the… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
3 months ago

Mexican earthquake ??