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All Images

Discovery
Deeper View Helps Explain Rio Grande Rift

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Illustration comparing two theories behind the Rio Grande rifting.

This illustration shows the result of data collected by La RISTRA researchers and reveals the properties of the crust and upper mantle beneath the Rio Grande. From the information, the researchers suspect the pure shear model is the more probable explanation, with a "taffy-like" thinning of the lower crust and the upper crust faulting in many places to produce the rift valley. This scenario is in contrast to the "simple shear" model wherein a single, large detachment fault controls continental rifting.

Credit: Nicolle Rager, NSF


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Diagonal line showing location of RISTRA seismic instruments.

The diagonal line shows the location of seismic instruments used to image the geological structures beneath the Rio Grande Rift. The darkened region through central New Mexico denotes the Rio Grande Rift.

Credit: New Mexico State University


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Joe Leon, a former graduate student at New Mexico Tech, is shown servicing a RISTRA seismic station.

Joe Leon, a former graduate student at New Mexico Tech, is shown servicing a RISTRA seismic station near Monument Valley in Utah.

Credit: New Mexico State University


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