Tidal Triggering Caught in the Act

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Science  27 Aug 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5688, pp. 1248-1249
DOI: 10.1126/science.1100726

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Over the past three decades, many researchers have searched for the tidal triggering of earthquakes in the hope that small triggered shocks would illuminate faults critically stressed for failure in future large earthquakes. The results have been equivocal, but not anymore, according to the Perspective by Stein. He highlights a recent paper by Tanaka, Ohtake, and Sato in Earth, Planets and Space, where they report the detection of detected tidal triggering in 10% of the Japanese archipelago and show that earthquakes are only triggered when the tidal stress acts in the same direction as the regional tectonic stress. If the results can be reproduced in places such as California and Taiwan, a long-sought goal of seismology would be achieved.