Thousands of tourists evacuated after quake strikes Death Valley

Mexico earthquake triggers ‘desert tsunami’ 1,500 miles away in Death Valley cave system

The magnitude 8.0 earthquake triggered a ‘desert tsunami’ that is far beyond the power of coastal waves, according to one scientist.

By 5pm (AEDT) Saturday, California’s Death Valley National Park was one of the worst-hit regions. Visitors were still streaming out of the park on Saturday afternoon – some of the estimated 1,500 who were trapped inside the park have been rescued.

The quake struck in the central Mexican state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala.

The temblor triggered a ‘desert tsunami’ 1,500 miles away in Death Valley National Park

It hit at 9.43am local time and sent water cascading from a cave called the Lago de Atitlán down the escarpment into the world’s largest natural swimming pool – a distance of 1,500 miles.

Death Valley is located in the hottest and driest place on Earth, where many visitors are seeking the ‘ultimate natural escape’, as a spokesman from the park said.

Tsunami waves crashed into the desert and the rock formations, prompting authorities to issue an alert warning for swimmers, including those in nearby caves.

The state Office of Emergency Services described the earthquake as ‘an incredible earthquake of magnitude 8.0 or greater that triggered a tsunami waves of up to 20 feet high as seen from the canyon walls.’

California’s Death Valley National Park was one of the worst hit areas with more than 100 people reported missing in the early hours of Saturday

Thousands of tourists, with many seeking the ‘ultimate natural escape’ at the park, were evacuated as the earthquake struck

Thousands of tourists and swimmers were evacuated after the earthquake struck (above)

Death Valley National Park is a series of canyons that reach up to 5,200 feet (1,500 metres) in elevation.

‘A great deal of damage has been done at the park, with power outages, water and natural gas losses, and a significant number of visitor vehicles knocked off the road,’ the Office of Emergency Services reported.

The agency

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