What are earth fissures?
- In general terms, fissures are long, narrow cracks or openings in the earth.
- Earth fissures are associated with land subsidence that accompanies extensive ground water pumping.
- Earth fissures may be more than a mile in length, up to 15 feet wide, and hundreds of feet deep.
- During torrential rains they erode rapidly presenting a substantial hazard to people and infrastructure.
- Fissures provide a ready conduit to deliver runoff and contaminated waters to basin aquifers.
- Rapid population growth in central and southern Arizona is increasingly juxtaposing population centers and fissures.
What is the latest information?
- In August 2005, a 1.5 mile long fissure in unincorporated Maricopa County (near Queen Creek) was reactivated as a result of heavy rains.
- In response to that event, the Arizona Legislature passed legislation to map earth fissures in Arizona. House Bill 2639 charges the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) with the following:
- On June 4, 2007 the AZGS released individual, 1:250,000 scale, earth fissure planning maps of Maricopa and Pinal counties with accompanying Open-File Report 07-01. The maps show all currently known earth fissures.
- On April 23, 2008 the AZGS released 1:24,000 scale, detailed earth fissure maps for the Chandler Heights and Apache Junction areas. Many additional reports are now also available through AZGS.
- On February 2, 2016 the AZGS released an updated 1:24,000 scale, detailed earth fissure maps for the Chandler Heights and Apache Junction areas.
Where can I get a copy of the map?
- Visit the Arizona Geological Survey Earth Fissure Center Web site planning maps section.
Detail/Study Area Maps:
- Visit the Arizona Geological Survey Earth Fissure Center Web site study areas map section.
Who should I contact for more information?