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NASA Topography Shows Baja Quake Site’s Complex Geology

April 7, 2010

The topography surrounding the Laguna Salada fault in the Mexican state of Baja, California, is clearly shown in this combined radar image and topographic view generated with data from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM). On April 4, 2010, a magnitude 7.2 earthquake struck along this fault about 64 kilometers (40 miles) south of the Mexico-United States border.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the earthquake was the largest to strike this area since 1892. This fault is a probable southern continuation of the Elsinore fault zone in Southern California, and is related to the San Andreas fault zone complex. Aftershocks since the major event have appeared to extend in both directions along this fault system from the epicenter, marked by the red star.

This view combines a radar image acquired in February 2000 during SRTM, and color-coding by topographic height using data from the mission’s data. Dark green colors indicate low elevations, rising through lime green, yellow and tan, to white at the highest elevations. The image shows a simulated view toward the southwest, with the topography exaggerated by a factor of two for clarity.

Image Caption: The site of an April 4, 2010, magnitude 7.2 earthquake, the Laguna Salada fault in Baja, California, is clearly shown in this image from NASA’s Shuttle Radar Topography Mission. Image credit: NASA/JPL/NGA

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