PHOENIX — Arizona is getting bigger every year, researcher said.
Using about 50 locations equipped with GPS technology around the state, researchers have determined that the movement of tectonic plates miles below the surface of Earth is causing Arizona to grow.
University of Arizona professor Rick Bennett said Arizona is part of the Pacific-North American plate boundary zone. The zone produces the largest earthquakes in the United States, but Arizona is in a “quiet” area of it despite the growth.
“As the plates move relative to one another, the surface of the earth responds,” said Bennett. “It deforms and stretches — in the case of Arizona — causing faulting and contributing to the development of our mountain ranges.”
Bennett said that Arizona mountains are slowly separating.
While there have been earthquakes in Arizona, Bennett said the last one that would have measured stronger than 7.0 on the Richter scale happened about 100,000 years ago.
Bennett said that Arizona expands about 3,000 square feet every year, equivalent to the size of a five-bedroom house.
“The expansion is occurring somewhere between Arizona’s east and west boundaries, but we have not yet identified exactly where that stretching is taking place,” he said.
When asked if Arizona is pushing California out into the Pacific Ocean, Bennett said there is two ways to look at things.
“You can think of it that way, or you can think of it that California is stretching out into the ocean and pulling Arizona out with it.”
Bennett hopes that the continued study of what’s going on under Arizona will lead scientists to find ways to more accurately predict when and where earthquakes will happen.
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier
- Three elements of a strong timeshare exit guarantee
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths