Study: Foreshocks occur when 2 tectonic plates slowly collide

03/24/2013 | Our Amazing Planet

Slight creeping movements from the Earth's tectonic plates may be the cause of foreshocks, small tremors that occur days or hours before a larger earthquake, according to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers at the Institute of Earth Science in Grenoble, France, studied earthquakes magnitude 6.5 and up around the Pacific Ocean. They found that as plates slowly collided, small areas would resist and eventually break, causing the small tremors that could precede a larger earthquake. "If we understand better where and how earthquakes begin, we can better mitigate earthquake hazard." said study co-author Virginie Durand.

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