A fissure was just discovered in the Arizona desert, but don't panic

Arizona Geological Survey drone video explores a fissure in the middle of the desert south of Arizona City. The fissure is 1.8 miles long. (Video: AZGS)

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - A large crack in the desert landscape was just charted by the Arizona Geological Survey.

The AZGS announced the discovery Monday after exploring the earth fissure with drone video, which you can see in the player above.

BONUS: Check out maps of fissures in neighborhoods across Arizona

This fissure formed between March 2013 and December 2014. This one is more than half a mile longer than other fissures in the area. The fissure may have grown because of the heavy rains in fall of 2014.

Joe Cook with the AZGS says the southern mile is fresher, and may have reached the surface in the 2016 monsoon. It may have been a crack or void underground for years before that.

There have been fissures in this area near Picacho Peak since the late 70s.

Fissures pose a threat to people off-roading and riding ATVs in the area. Roaming livestock can also fall in and get stuck. Standing near the edge of a fissure can be dangerous because it can suddenly cave in.

The fissure is about 13 miles south of Arizona City, just south of Aries Drive near Sunland Gin Road.

The AZGS says the fissures formed after "extensive groundwater withdraw in the Sonoran Desert.

Fissures are fairly common in central Arizona, with a cluster of fissures around Eloy, and in Cochise, La Paz, Maricopa, Pima and Pinal Counties.

The first fissures appeared near Eloy in 1929, according to the AZGS.

This is the first time the AZGS used a drone to examine a fissure.

(© 2017 KPNX)


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