Earthquake Pattern Mirrored Stress Buildup

POTSDAM, Germany, Sept. 9 (UPI) — The pattern of fractures resulting from the February 2010 earthquake in Chile was predictable from previously measured stresses, German researchers say.

GPS observations along fault zones before the earthquake showed patterns of stresses accumulated through tectonic plate movements during the past 175 years, researchers from the GFZ German Center for Geosciences said.


The earthquake fracture patterns closely followed the stress distributions, they said.

Researchers say the 8.8 magnitude quake in 2010 probably removed all the stress building up since the last major earthquake in the region in 1835, witnessed by Charles Darwin.

Therefore an earthquake of similar magnitude in the area is unlikely in the near future, the scientists say.

Science may still not be able to predict the location, time and magnitude of an earthquake, but the study suggests the predictability of possible fracture patterns and magnitudes of expected earthquakes, its authors said.

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Categorized | Earthquakes, Other
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