News Stories

One Quake Influences Another

Even if one of them happened in the past! - Can an earthquake that occurred in the past make one more likely to happen today in a place on the other side of the earth? The surprising answer is yes.

The 2004 earthquake in Sumatra may have weakened the San Andreas fault across the earth in California. Researchers who compared measurements of the 2 faults found that small "repeating earthquakes" became more frequent as the San Andreas Fault weakened, and this began happening after the major 9.3 magnitude quake in Sumatra in 2004, which triggered a tsunami that killed over 200,000 people.

BBC News quotes earthquake expert Fenglin Niu as saying, "It is possible that the strength of faults and earthquake risk is affected by seismic events on the other side of the world."

On October 1, a microquake swarm took place in central California, but the quakes took place in the San Gabriel fault zone, which is not believed to be related to the San Andreas fault.

BBC News quotes earthquake expert Taka'aki Taira as saying, "These events happen regularly and the size of the event is about the same, but after Sumatra, the frequency changed: It increased, but the magnitude decreased. That is a signal of the fault weakening; you only have to push a little bit and the fault fails."

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