Earthquake Activity in the Four Corners of the American Southwest

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    History of the Colorado Plateau

    • The Colorado Plateau is an area of approximately 337,000 square kilometers. The Colorado Plateau encompasses the Four Corners. The Colorado Plateau has been slightly rotating around "a point in the northern Rocky Mountains for millions of years," according to one American Geophysical Union blog. Many areas of the Colorado Plateau, in each of the four states mentioned above, have other tectonic structures such as; volcanic necks, dome mountains, cinder cones and lava flows, according to the "Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes."

    Earthquakes (Part 1)

    • The seismic activity along the Colorado Plateau's boundaries shows the plateau is still rising. This means the plates are still moving beneath the Earth's surface. When the plates move, earthquakes can occur. Although it has been noted that the interior of the Colorado Plateau is seismically active, there are few known and identified faults to associate with earthquakes.

    Earthquakes (Part 2)

    • In 1981, "Earthquake potential in Colorado: a preliminary evaluation," by Robert M. Kirkham and William Patrick Rogers, suggested the earthquakes in the Colorado Plateau will increase in intensity in the future. The Colorado Plateau's major earthquakes are concentrated along the southeastern and western edges. Earthquakes beneath the center of the Colorado Plateau are few and far between. These earthquakes also tend to be weak.

    Colorado Plateau is Stretching

    • The Colorado Plateau seems to be stretching apart. According to data it is being pulled apart by its east and west edges. This stretching is crowding the land on each side of it. GPS data indicates that the Colorado Plateau is moving at 0.4 to 1.5 millimeters per year. Earthquakes are associated with the movement.

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