Environmental Hazards in Arizona

Daniel Garcia GRZEXP Staff

Every piece of land has their own climate and daily weather. For London, they have an oceanic climate, which gives them cold winters, warm summers, and frequent rain. Moscow has a humid continental climate, while Arizona has an arid or dry climate. There are several different hazards because of the climate in an area. The hazards can vary from blizzards to landslides. In Arizona the major hazards can be Radon, drought, and landslides. 

Drought is a very simple hazard in Arizona and is caused by the lack of raining for a long period of time. Unlike most natural disasters droughts take months or years to fully take form. Droughts could make the water supply limited, but that doesn’t happen because of two very important projects. The Salt River Project brings water from the Salt River and brings it to many Arizona families, similarly the Central Arizona Project transports water from the Colorado River. According to Drought Facts, “We’re prepared. That’s because SRP, Valley cities, the Central Arizona Project (CAP) and the Arizona Department of Water Resources are working together to track drought conditions and plan for a reliable water future.” This means droughts currently aren’t a big deal for the 48th state.

Radon is a gas caused by the decay of uranium and is the second leading cause of lung cancer. In the Late 1980’s and early 1990’s, geologists in Arizona studied radon gas and the threat it posed in the state. All the research resulted in “Radon Gas: A Geologic Hazard in Arizona”, a 22 page book that discusses the toxic gas and what it means for the state. While radon levels in the Grand Canyon State are generally at healthy levels, there are several hot spots for it in Arizona. According to the Arizona Geological Survey, these locations are, “Tucson (the area around Cardinal Avenue); the Cave Creek Area; parts of the Verde Valley; and the Granite Dells near Prescott.” Overall, while radon could be deadly in the long term, in the Copper State it seems to be rare.

Landslides are extremely common in Arizona, having more than 6,000 landslides features are spotted in the state. Landslides are behind countless deaths and 2-3 billion dollars of damages in infrastructure, roads, and buildings. There are 10 different types of landslides including topple landslides, debris flow, and rockfall. Obviously with disasters there are signs of it before it occurs. According to the Arizona Geological Survey these signs include, “Structural deformation such as large foundation cracks, misaligned doors and windows, tilted floors, or sagging decks, Large, open cracks in driveways, curbs, and roads, failing retaining walls, arc-shaped cracks in the ground, new cracks or bulges in the ground, Leaning telephone poles, trees or fences,” Landslides are extremely dangerous and costly but these landslide could be prevented with an observant eye.

While the disasters sound underwhelming and unthreatening, there are a lot more with a higher potential to do damage. Although hazards like droughts and radon can be survived easily, landslides seem to do a lot of damage. There is one thing in common with the hazards and it’s that all of them could be prevented or avoided easily. With advances in technology helping us predict and identify potential disasters it’s getting easier to prevent or survive one of these disasters.

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