Active Deformation Near the Rio Grande Rift and Colorado Plateau as Inferred from Continuous Global Positioning System Measurements
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Active Deformation Near the Rio Grande Rift and Colorado Plateau as Inferred from Continuous Global Positioning System Measurements

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  • Journal Title:
    Journal Of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
  • Description:
    We used data from 333 continuous Global Positioning System stations, including 26 stations installed in 2006–2007 as part of a collaborative EarthScope experiment, to investigate how deformation is distributed near the Rio Grande Rift. Our previous analysis, using data from 2006 to 2010, was consistent with a nearly uniform east‐west distributed extensional strain rate of ~1.2 nε/year (nanostrain/year) along five profiles spanning a ~1,000‐km region. We built upon this analysis with additional Global Positioning System networks and longer time series of data spanning varying time ranges between 1993 and 2018. In all five east‐west profiles, extensional strain rates are higher within and west of the fault‐defined rift zone than to the east. There is an east‐to‐west increase in Central New Mexico from 0.7 ± 0.1 to 1.8 ± 0.8 nε/year that is significant at the 95% confidence level. We found elevated extensional and shear strain rates of over 10 nε/year along parts of the central Rio Grande Rift, particularly along the southeast edge of the Colorado Plateau along part of the Jemez lineament, as well as elevated dilatational strain rates and uplift above the Socorro magma body. Results from Euler pole analysis of Global Positioning System velocities for sites within the Colorado Plateau show nonrigid behavior with considerable deformation near the plateau margins and internal east‐west extension. Our results suggest the Rio Grande Rift is actively deforming in an evolving tectonic environment.
  • Source:
    JGR Solid Earth (2019). 124(2): 2166-2183
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