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Periodic slow slip triggers megathrust zone earthquakes in northeastern Japan

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Science  29 Jan 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6272, pp. 488-492
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3108

A silent and periodic earthquake trigger

Large earthquakes that hit places such as Japan seem to be preceded by subtle and silent deformation. Uchida et al. show that these “slow-slip events” are quasi-periodic in the megathrust zone in Japan. Slow-slip events occurred every 1 to 6 years and frequently were correlated with large earthquakes, including the great 2011 Tohoku-oki earthquake. The quasi-periodic behavior stretches back to at least 1930 and provides an important constraint for seismic hazard assessment in the region.

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