Earthquakes in Arizona? Get ready with the Shakeout Thursday

_blank">Click here to download 48-page Arizona Earthquake Information Guide(large file 8.2 MB)Arizona officials hope to get 50,000 residents to participate in the "Great Arizona Shakeout" at 10:18 a.m. Thursday.It's not a dance; it's a drill to prepare for earthquakes. The "Drop, Cover and Hold On" drill takes about two minutes: Drop to the ground, Take Cover under a sturdy table or desk if possible and protect your head and neck, and Hold On until the shaking stops.People can sign up at shakeout.org/Arizona, where lots of information is available. The site says 2,549 Yavapai County students are joining the Shakeout."We have several Yavapai County school districts participating in this year's earthquake drill," Yavapai County Emergency Management Coordinator Denny Foulk said. "This is also a great opportunity for local businesses and government agencies to participate."While the possibility of a damaging earthquake might seem quite remote to Arizonans, Arizona Geological Survey experts say the state could experience quakes with magnitudes as strong as 7.5."Arizona has earthquakes," said Michael Conway, chief of the Geologic Extension Service at the Arizona Geological Survey. "While most are small magnitude events, the potential for earthquakes of up to magnitude 7.5, with severe ground shaking, infrastructure damage, injuries and possibly deaths, exists."Last year the Arizona Broadband Seismic Network recorded 131 earthquakes in Arizona, although people couldn't feel most of them. The largest, at magnitudes 3.6 and 3.7, occurred near Clarkdale.Yavapai is among four counties at greatest risk from earthquakes, according to the state Geological Survey.To prove its point, the Geological Survey just released a new 44-page booklet called "Arizona is Earthquake Country." It's available online by typing the title into a search engine. It includes maps, pictures and diagrams illustrating where earthquakes happen, how to prepare for them and what to do when they happen.In Yavapai County, the largest fault is the Big Chino near Paulden that created the Big Chino Valley and its deep aquifer. It could produce a magnitude 7.0 quake, the new booklet related.Almost exactly a year ago, on Oct. 25, a 3.2-magnitude earthquake struck the Paulden area and people felt it in Prescott about 30 miles away. While it didn't cause any reported damage, it spooked quite a few people. Court proceedings came to a sudden halt on the fourth floor of the Yavapai County courthouse in downtown Prescott when the top floor shook violently.About five to 10 large quakes over the past 200,000 years helped create the Big Chino Basin, Arizona Geological Survey scientist Phil Pearthree said in a video about the Big Chino fault.The largest quake in that region over the last 50 years was a 5.1-magnitude quake in the Chino Valley area on Feb. 4, 1976, he said. People over a 50,000 square mile area felt it."We don't often get advance notice before disaster strikes, so the opportunity for residents to drill in the Great Arizona Shakeout is invaluable," said Lou Trammell, director of the Arizona Division of Emergency Management.