Large, 2-mile long fissure opens up in southern Arizona desert

Jan 31, 2017, 10:57 AM | Updated: 12:26 pm

PHOENIX — The Arizona Geological Survey is investigating a large fissure that opened up last week in the desert in the southern part of the state.

The fissure is not expected to pose a danger to people as it is in a remote location. According to a video posted by the state agency on YouTube, the two-mile long crack is located near the Tator Hills in Pinal County, more than 60 miles southeast of the Phoenix area.

Geologist Trevor Naceis wrote in Forbes that the fissure was first identified in 2014. However, all the recent rain enhanced the erosion process and removed overlying sediment to expose the crack.

Despite the jarring appearance of a large crack in the Earth’s crust — the fissure is 25 to 30 feet and 10 feet across at points — the area is prone to developing fissures, meaning scientists aren’t slapping the panic button.

In fact, Forbes said the Arizona Geological Survey has recorded a combined 170 miles of fissures in the nearby area.

The fissure is likely an indicator of a larger void open underground, which was probably caused by groundwater being pumped out. The crack is expected to grow as more water leaves the underground aquifer.

The crack could be a problem for cattle who graze in the area, as the ground around it may be unsteady.

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Large, 2-mile long fissure opens up in southern Arizona desert