A new GIS-driven geophysical database for the southwestern United States

Jesse B. Yoburn, Matthew J. Fouch, Ramon Arrowsmith, G. Randy Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Geologic and geophysical investigations of the southwestern United States have provided a broad range of noteworthy regional geological and geophysical data sets. These data are integral to understanding the rich and complex geologic history of the region, which has experienced major periods of subduction, uplift, and extension over the past 2 Ga. However, these data are not generally archived in a consistent, digital format that enables interdisciplinary analysis. This paper presents the results of the development of a geographic information system (GIS) of significant geophysical data sets for the Colorado Plateau and southern Basin and Range as part of the SWGEONET project (http://www.geoinformaticsnetwork.org/swgeonet/). The data system contains the following ten compilations: seismic S-wave tomography, receiver functions, shear wave splitting, stress fields, heat flow, thermal conductivity, heat production, complete Bouguer gravity anomaly, geodetic velocity field, and digital elevation models. We utilize the attributes and key findings from these individual data sets in this new infrastructure to better constrain relationships between data sets. To demonstrate the utility of examining these varying data in a common framework, we present four case studies that use GIS tools to join these data sets and provide new views of regional dynamics. These case studies provide estimates of regional variations in crust and/or lithospheric thickness, correlations between independent seismic data sets near the boundaries of the upper mantle transition zone, the potential extent of coupling between the crust and mantle, and possible sources of crustal deformational forces across the region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-267
Number of pages19
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 2006


  • Crust
  • Geophysics
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Gis
  • Mantle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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