Earthquake damage threatens stability of Idaho monument

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An earthquake in March is threatening caves at the Craters of the Moon National Monument, officials said.

Two National Forest Service cave experts found two structural concerns in the national preserve after a magnitude 6.5 earthquake near Boise rumbled on March 31.

Wade Vagias, superintendent of the Craters of the Moon, said there is one fracture that has the potential to collapse.

Eric Bilderback, a National Park Service geomorphologist, said the agency must balance intervention with letting nature run its course. He said his office will plan additional evaluations throughout the fall to determine how to proceed, Boise State Public Radio reported.

“The last thing we want is anybody to get hurt,” Bilderback said. “But we are talking about natural processes here. And it’s not necessarily our job to change those natural processes.”

The monument typically hosts public tours, but halted them in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

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