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A two mile tear in the Earth near Eloy

More than a half million views on YouTube
Posted at 7:48 PM, Feb 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-06 22:06:20-05
ELOY, Ariz (KGUN9-TV) - It is wide, deep, dusty, almost two miles long, and an internet sensation.
      
We're talking about a tear in the Earth near Eloy, between Tucson and Phoenix.  
 
Drone video of what geologists call a fissure got more than 600 thousand views after the Arizona Geological Survey put it on YouTube
        
Fissures can open right under your feet.  
 
You have to hike about a mile and a half after you drive miles overland if you want to see this internet sensation in person.
 
The fissure, near Eloy, about 75 miles northwest of Tucson, is even longer and deeper than it was when drone video made it a star on YouTube with 623,986 views the last time we looked.
     
Michael Conway of the Arizona Geological Survey says it started forming about three years ago and has been growing ever since.  
      
He says overall, Arizona has about two hundred miles of fissures.
       
Some form so fast the earth can open right under your feet.
 
He says, “We do know of a case in 2007 when a fissure ripped right through a corral and captured a horse and it had to do that very quickly, opened up twelve or fifteen feet wide, about ten or fifteen feet deep."
 
Conway says years of pumping water, usually for farmland makes the earth settle and brings on the cracks. He and other geologists think the fissures may start at the water lines deep in the earth.
 
"And that can be hundreds of feet upward. They're not big open fractures until they get up towards the top."
 
"If you're tempted to come out and have a look at this for yourself you need to be very very careful.  It's very unstable.  You don't want to get too close to the edge.  It could crumble right out from under you.  You certainly don't want to go inside because it could easily collapse right on you."
      
Conway says fissures do appear when we build on vacant land and it can be very hard to know when one's ready to open.  Your best defense before you build is to learn if there have been fissures in the area.  The Arizona Geological Survey’s website includes a page listing the location of fissures and a variety of other hazards in the state.