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Earth surface deformed by 7.2 quake on Mexican-U.S. border

06-25-2010 08:31 BJT

LOS ANGELES, June 23 (Xinhua) -- The magnitude 7.2 quake that rocked Mexico's state of Baja California and parts of the American Southwest on April 4 caused the deformation in Earth's surface, according to radar images released by NASA on Wednesday.

The data reveals that in the area studied, the quake moved the Calexico, California region in a downward and southerly direction up to 80 centimeters (31 inches).

The quake shifted the crust on the Mexican side of the border even more -- as much as 10 feet, said scientists at the Jet Propulsion Loboratory (JPL), headquartered near Los Angeles.

A science team at JPL used the JPL-developed Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) to measure surface deformation from the quake.

The radar flies at an altitude of 12.5 kilometers (41,000 feet) on a Gulfstream-III aircraft from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California, according to the JPL.

The Easter Sunday quake killed two people, injured hundreds and caused substantial damage in the Mexicali area. There was more than 90 million dollars in damage in California alone.

The quake occurred along a geologically complex segment of the boundary between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates. The quake, the region's largest in nearly 120 years, was also felt in southern California and parts of Nevada and Arizona.

There have been thousands of aftershocks, extending from near the northern tip of the Gulf of California to a few miles northwest of the U.S. border.

The area northwest of the main rupture, along the trend of California's Elsinore fault, has been especially active, and was the site of a large, magnitude 5.7 aftershock on June 14.

Scientists are still working to determine the exact northwest extent of the main fault rupture, but it is clear it came within 10 kilometers (6 miles) of the UAVSAR swath, close to the point where the interferogram fringes converge, the JPL said.

"Continued measurements of the region should tell us whether the main fault rupture has moved north over time," said JPL geophysicist Andrea Donnellan, principal investigator of the UAVSAR project to map and assess seismic hazard in Southern California.

Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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