Review

Connecting slow earthquakes to huge earthquakes

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Science  15 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6296, pp. 253-257
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf1512

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Abstract

Slow earthquakes are characterized by a wide spectrum of fault slip behaviors and seismic radiation patterns that differ from those of traditional earthquakes. However, slow earthquakes and huge megathrust earthquakes can have common slip mechanisms and are located in neighboring regions of the seismogenic zone. The frequent occurrence of slow earthquakes may help to reveal the physics underlying megathrust events as useful analogs. Slow earthquakes may function as stress meters because of their high sensitivity to stress changes in the seismogenic zone. Episodic stress transfer to megathrust source faults leads to an increased probability of triggering huge earthquakes if the adjacent locked region is critically loaded. Careful and precise monitoring of slow earthquakes may provide new information on the likelihood of impending huge earthquakes.

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