New Mexico – Researchers say the Earth's crust in New Mexico is stretching at a rate of an inch of east-west growth every 40 years.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/yVFpYl) that scientists have long suspected this was happening because of the way the Rio Grande Rift splits the state down the middle.
The rift, a tear in the Earth's crust, defines the state's central mountain chain and the valley the Rio Grande now follows.
Colorado geophysicist Henry Berglund, the lead author of a paper outlining these findings in a recent issue of the journal Geology, says until scientists began collecting data from their monitoring network back in 2006, they had no idea how widespread the stretching was.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.