DEATH VALLEY, Nevada – Minutes after a 7.6 magnitude earthquake rocked parts of Mexico on Monday, seismic energy impacts were seen across the United States as what officials described as a ‘desert tsunami’ formed in the Mojave Desert.
Unlike an ocean tsunami that produces an unfathomable amount of energy and gigantic waves, this desert feature was confined to a geothermal pool known as Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park.
The water-filled cavern is susceptible to seismic waves, and luckily for National Park Service personnel, they were in the right place at the right time to witness the effects of the earthquake.
Park staff immediately grabbed their phones and filmed the water splashing against the rocks, similar to the sloshing effect in a bathtub or swimming pool.
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“NPS staff were on hand to conduct research and witnessed the effects. Within five minutes, the normally calm water in the pool began to move slowly and quickly formed waves several feet high. “, wrote the staff of the NPS on Facebook.
Although the epicenter was 1,300 miles away, the lapping of the water lasted for several minutes.
Major earthquakes centered in Japan, Indonesia and Chile have caused similar sites that are mostly harmless except for the critically endangered species of pupfish that inhabit the geothermal pool.
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The NPS said the water temperature remains around 92°F year-round, allowing fish to feed and spawn on a shallow rocky shelf near the surface.
Despite the sudden waves, there were no initial reports of significant impacts on fish.
The NPS said it expects to see more spawning activity over the next few days, leading to a potential population boom.