Geophysics

Finding foreshocks in the damage zone

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Science  16 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6343, pp. 1135
DOI: 10.1126/science.356.6343.1135-a

Damage done by a 2005 earthquake in Balakot, Pakistan

PHOTO: AGENCJA FOTOGRAFICZNA CARO/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Foreshocks are small earthquakes that precede much larger and more damaging earthquakes. The role that these small quakes play in nucleating the mainshock is unclear, but unraveling the relationship could provide clues about future earthquakes. Savage et al. obtained precise locations of foreshocks and aftershocks from the 2011 earthquake in Prague, Oklahoma. The foreshocks occurred in a broad region known as the damage zone before localizing near the main fault rupture. This behavior suggests that determining the precise location of foreshocks may be a promising tool for earthquake forecasting.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2017GL073226 (2017).

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