The state's name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning "small spring", which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like Arissona. The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O'odham language. Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona ("the good oak"), as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area. A native Mexican of Basque heritage established the ranchería (village) of Arizona between 1734 and 1736 in the current Mexican state of Sonora, which became notable after a significant discovery of silver there, c. 1737.
There is a misconception that the state's name originated from the Spanish term Árida Zona ("Arid Zone").
Generally, Arizona is at low risk of earthquakes, except for the southwestern portion which is at moderate risk due to its proximity to southern California. On the other hand, northern Arizona is at moderate risk due to numerous faults in the area. The regions near and west of Phoenix have the lowest risk.
The earliest Arizona earthquakes were recorded at Fort Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River. They were centered near the Imperial Valley, or Mexico, back in the 1800s. Residents in Douglas felt the 1887 Sonora earthquake with its epicenter 40 miles to the south in the Mexican state of Sonora. The first damaging earthquake known to be centered within Arizona occurred on January 25, 1906, also including a series of other earthquakes centered near Socorro, New Mexico. The shock was violent in Flagstaff.
In September 1910, a series of 52 earthquakes caused a construction crew near Flagstaff to leave the area. In 1912, the year Arizona achieved statehood, on August 18, an earthquake caused a 50-mile crack in the San Francisco Range. In early January 1935, the state experienced a series of earthquakes, in the Yuma area and near the Grand Canyon. Arizona experienced its largest earthquake in 1959, with a tremor of a magnitude 5.6. It was centered near Fredonia, in the state's northwest near the border with Utah. The tremor was felt across the border in Nevada and Utah.