Four small earthquakes shook northern New Mexico earlier this week, sending us a reminder that the land of hot springs and rugged landscapes is still very much an active geologic zone.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) tracked four earthquakes ranging from 2.0 to 4.7 on the Richter Scale. The USGS reports that quakes between 2.5 and 5.4 are likely felt nearby but cause little damage.
The quakes were centered in a lightly populated area of the Jemez Mountains near the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The USGS says that the Valles Caldera is the newest of three “super volcanoes” identified across the western United States.
Scientists estimate that the caldera’s large explosion occured 1.25 million years ago, a mere moment in geologic time. The most recent eruption is estimated to have occurred about 40,000 years ago and the region is still considered active.