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Foreshocks may warn that a big quake is coming

Foreshocks may warn that a big quake is coming

New Scientist

Image: martinluff

Advance warning is the ultimate prize for earthquake studies. Now, for the first time, one study offers tantalising evidence that it may be possible to build such a system to warn of some impending large quakes about an hour before they strike.

The finding comes from an analysis of the seismic record from the lead-up to a devastating earthquake that hit Turkey in 1999. This revealed that foreshocks rippled away from the source of the rupture in the 45 minutes before the quake – the first time that foreshocks have been conclusively linked to a major earthquake.

Theoretical models predict that the crust is unstable in the hours leading up to a major earthquake, but detecting that instability in the real world has proven a challenge. Read more on newscientist.com…