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.
- 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
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon