Research ArticlesArticles

Teleseismic Detection of a Slow Precursor to the Great 1989 Macquarie Ridge Earthquake

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  09 Jul 1993:
Vol. 261, Issue 5118, pp. 177-183
DOI: 10.1126/science.261.5118.177


Low-frequency spectra for the 1989 Macquarie Ridge earthquake (magnitude 8.2) show an amplitude increase and a phase-delay decrease below 6 millihertz that require a short-term slow precursor. This earthquake can be modeled as a compound event in which a fast-rupturing, ordinary earthquake was initiated by an episode of slow, smooth deformation that began more than 100 seconds before the main shock. The moment released in the slow precursor was large, about 3 x 1020 newton-meters, equivalent to an event of magnitude 7.6. The data are consistent with the precursor being generated in a region of the oceanic upper mantle below the main rupture.