Home Natural Hazard Management GPS uncovers quake risk in the US Southwest

GPS uncovers quake risk in the US Southwest

US: The US Southwest isn’t particularly known for its seismic activity, but the Rio Grande Rift, a series of faults and basins that runs from central Colorado south through New Mexico, is alive and stretching, scientists at University of Colorado at Boulder claimed. Their study published in the January issue of the journal Geology.
Using a large network of GPS stations — nearly 300 sites — Anne Sheehan, a seismologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and her team monitored the rift’s movement over four years. They found that the rift is in fact spreading very slowly, at a rate of about 0.1 millimetres per year.
Earlier, scientists had suspected the rift might be dead, but GPS measurements of its movement varied widely and were riddled with uncertainties. Geophysicists found the rift is indeed extending — just very slowly.
More surprisingly, the team found that the spreading isn’t focused at the rift itself, but is spread across a span of more than 370 miles (600 kilometres).
Source: OurAmazingPlanet