Geophysics

Different faults with the same risks

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Science  11 Jul 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6193, pp. 176-177
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6193.176-g

Everyone knows that buildings near traditional earthquake faults need careful engineering, but what about ones near faults that deform slowly over time? Most earthquakes occur on faults that are locked in place and resist motion; faults that deform slowly and continuously are traditionally considered less seismically hazardous. Harris and Abrahamson analyzed the San Andreas fault system in detail and report that ground shaking from earthquakes on slowly deforming faults looks the same as that from traditional earthquakes. The authors conclude that seismic hazard maps should not discount the potential for ground shaking from slowly deforming faults.

The hazards from slowly deforming faults are similar to those of rapidly deforming ones

PHOTO: © WILL & DENI MCINTYRE/CORBIS

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2014GL060228 (2014).

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