Earth Tides Can Trigger Shallow Thrust Fault Earthquakes

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Science  12 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5699, pp. 1164-1166
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103961

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We show a correlation between the occurrence of shallow thrust earthquakes and the occurrence of the strongest tides. The rate of earthquakes varies from the background rate by a factor of 3 with the tidal stress. The highest correlation is found when we assume a coefficient of friction of μ = 0.4 for the crust, although we see good correlation for μ between 0.2 and 0.6. Our results quantify the effect of applied stress on earthquake triggering, a key factor in understanding earthquake nucleation and cascades whereby one earthquake triggers others.

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