The Rivera Plate is a small tectonic plate (a microplate) located off the west coast of Mexico, just south of the Baja California Peninsula. It is bounded on the northwest by the East Pacific Rise, on the southwest by the Rivera Transform Fault, on the southeast by a deformation zone, and on the northeast by the Middle America Trench and another deformation zone.
The Rivera Plate is believed to have separated from the Cocos Plate located to its southeast about 5-10 million years ago. Seismicity and tomography images show that the Rivera plate dips at 40° beneath the forearc region and then dips ~70° beneath the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. The subduction of the Rivera Plate under the North American Plate, in the Mid-American Trench, has been the cause of the strongest earthquakes in the history of Mexico, including the largest earthquake in Mexico during the 20th century which occurred on June 3, 1932 in the state of Jalisco. The quake had a magnitude of 8.2 with a magnitude 7.8 aftershock, both of which caused widespread casualties and damage.
On October 9, 1995, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake occurred beneath the Jalisco region and caused significant loss of life and property.
- Neogene-Quaternary Continental Margin Volcanism, Claus Siebe, ed., Geological Society of America, 2006, ISBN 0-8137-2402-3
- Pardo, Mario; Suarez, Gerardo, Steep subduction geometry of the Rivera plate beneath the Jalisco block in western Mexico, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 20, no. 21, p. 2391-2394
- C. DeMets, I. Carmichael, T. Melbourne, O. Sanchez, J. Stock, G. Suarez, and K. Hudnut, Anticipating the Successor to Mexico's Largest Historical Earthquake, Earth in Space, Vol. 8, No. 5, January 1996, p.6.
- Charles DeMets and Stephen Traylen, Motion of the Rivera plate since 10 Ma relative to the Pacific and North American plates and the mantle, Tectonophysics, Volume 318, Issues 1-4, 10 March 2000, Pages 119-159
- Yang et al. 2009, Seismic structure beneath the Rivera subduction zone from finite-frequency seismic tomography, Solid Earth, Volume 114, Issue B1, Pages 1-12