Megacity Megaquakes—Two Near Misses

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Science  23 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6148, pp. 850-852
DOI: 10.1126/science.1238944

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Two recent earthquakes left their mark on Santiago de Chile and Tokyo, well beyond the rupture zones, raising questions about the future vulnerability of these and other cities that lie in seismically active regions. Though spared strong shaking, the megacities nevertheless lit up in small quakes, perhaps signaling an abrupt change in the condition for failure on the faults beneath the cities. To detect such changes in earthquake rate requires good seismic monitoring networks; to respond to such hazard increases with civic preparations requires good government.