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Message Subject Earthquake Alert~Always Updated*6.0 Santa Cruz Islands*5.2 Japan*5.0 Indonesia ~ Pg 12128
Poster Handle Simple27
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'Slow earthquakes' on San Andreas Fault increase risk of large quakes

Geologists have long thought that the central section of California's famed San Andreas Fault—from San Juan Bautista southward to Parkfield, a distance of about 80 miles—has a steady creeping movement that provides a safe release of energy.

Creep on the central San Andreas during the past several decades, so the thinking goes, has reduced the chance of a big quake that ruptures the entire fault from north to south.

However new research by two Arizona State University geophysicists shows that the earth movements along this central section have not been smooth and steady, as previously thought.

Instead, the activity has been a sequence of small stick-and-slip movements—sometimes called "slow earthquakes"—that release energy over a period of months. Although these slow earthquakes pass unnoticed by people, the researchers say they can trigger large destructive quakes in their surroundings. One such quake was the magnitude 6 event that shook Parkfield in 2004.

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