The Sierrita fault forms part of the western boundary of the Rio Grande rift in north-central New Mexico. This fault is crucial in determining the kinematics and mechanics of rifting because it has deeper and better exposures than are seen elsewhere along the margins of the rift. It is a normal fault with a curved surface that is concave eastward. Movement appears to be mainly dip slip with a minor right-slip component; this indicates a tensional stress field for the fault and suggests that the rift formed by severe crustal extension.

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