A Tale of Two Earthquakes

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Science  17 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6036, pp. 1390-1391
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206643

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Thousands of lives were saved by the “Large Tsunami Warning” announcements of the Japan Meteorological Agency that followed the Tohoku-Oki earthquake of 11 March 2011. A similar alert followed the Central Chile (Maule) earthquake on 27 February 2010. Understanding better how such earthquakes develop might provide even more effective early-warning systems to help mitigate their devastating power. Four papers in this issue—by Sato et al. on page 1395 (1), Simons et al. on page 1421 (2), Ide et al. on page 1426 (3), and Vigny et al. on page 1417 (4)—report on both of these magnitude 9 (M9) earthquakes, illustrating the use of networks of Global Positioning System (GPS) detectors to reveal how the Earth's surface deformed during and after the events.