Four Corners Thermal Mystery: Scientists Say They May Finally Know The Cause

The Four Corners is the only place in the United States where the corners of four states meet to form a perfect intersection. Though the site is well-known for its unusual ability to allow a person to stand in four states at once, it is also home to a mysterious thermal hot spot that scientists discovered while looking at satellite data. So what caused the mysterious thermal hot spot the size of Connecticut?

Pioneer News points out that the thermal hot spot was discovered just east of the well-known Four Corners area. The spot was approximately 2,500 square miles wide, making it about the size of Connecticut. When looking at the data, scientists were unable to determine what would cause the mysterious hot spot to occur in that specific location. However, researchers think they may now have a good idea as to the root cause of the thermal imaging in the area.

It is believed that the hot spot is actually the result of a leak in a natural gas operation.

“They conclude that the hotspot is a collection of very potent greenhouse gas (like methane) and suspect that, perhaps, it is leaking from a natural gas operation somewhere within the San Juan Basin. This is the most productive coalbed methane site in the whole country; so that theory certainly holds water.”

In the Weather Channel video above, scientists explain why methane is the likely cause of the hot spot and what can be done about it now. It is noted that with a natural gas operation the likely culprit in creating the thermal pocket, a solution is likely just a matter of determining which coalbed is to blame for the leak.

[Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Michigan]