EARTH: We're All Living in the Aftershock Zone

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  When large earthquakes hit Earth in quick succession, many people wonder if the events are linked. Scientists generally say that such events aren't linked, but the latest research seems to indicate that a large earthquake can potentially trigger another quake hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away in a process called dynamic triggering. However, when it could happen is far from predictable.

"The more we look for evidence of dynamic triggering, the more we find, sometimes even on opposite sides of the world," Tom Parsons, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey, told EARTH. "We're used to putting out alerts after a big quake [that local residents should] expect aftershocks nearby, but should the whole planet be on alert?" Parsons asks. "Should the whole world be considered an aftershock zone?"

Read more about how researchers are studying dynamic triggering, what they're finding and how it might relate to global earthquake hazards in the November issue of EARTH magazine.

For more stories about the science of our planet, check out EARTH magazine online or subscribe at www.earthmagazine.org (link is external). The November issue, now available on the digital newsstand, features stories on how wind and solar power could solve the water and energy problems of the future by desalinating brackish water, how ants are incredible agents of weathering, and how massive icebergs once scoured the Arctic seafloor, plus much, much more.