Mexico, located in one of the world's most seismically active regions, lies on three large tectonic plates: the North American plate, Pacific plate, and Cocos plate. The relative motion of these tectonic plates causes frequent earthquakes and active volcanism and mountain building. Mexico's most seismically active region is in southern Mexico where the Cocos plate is subducting northwestward beneath Mexico creating the deep Middle America trench. The Gulf of California, which extends from approximately the northern terminus of the Middle America trench to the U.S.-Mexico border, overlies the plate boundary between the Pacific and North American plates where the Pacific plate is moving northwestward relative to the North American plate. This region of transform faulting is the southern extension of the well-known San Andreas Fault system.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Seismicity of the Earth 1900-2010 Mexico and vicinity