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Research  Earthquakes today could be echoes of powerful quakes centuries ago

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INTRO: North America may still be trembling with the aftershocks of two major earthquakes that struck the continent more than a century ago, according to new research.

If the statistical inferences that scientists have made are correct, then that means some tremors of today were set in motion way back in the 1800s, after some of the most powerful quakes in the continent's recorded history.

In fact, the study authors estimate that around 23 percent to 30 percent of the seismic shocks experienced in the New Madrid seismic zone between 1980 and 2016 were aftershocks of four large earthquakes that struck the area in 1811 and 1812, with magnitudes between 7.2 and 8.

What's more, another large quake, with a magnitude of 6.7 to 7.3, which hit Charleston, South Carolina in 1886, could explain up to 72 percent of the seismic shocks experienced in the region since.

The findings hint at the possibility that within geologically stable areas of continents, where there isn't a lot of tectonic activity, some earthquake aftershocks can continue uninterrupted for decades or even centuries, although far more research is needed before that controversial idea can be validated... (MORE - details)


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