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According to research, aftershocks can happen many years following the initial earthquake.


Large earthquakes are often accompanied by aftershocks, smaller earthquakes that still have the potential to cause damage as the ground settles. However, a recent study proposes that in certain regions, aftershocks can occur for decades or even centuries after the initial earthquake.

In areas prone to earthquakes, it can be difficult to distinguish between aftershocks and normal seismic activity. However, identifying aftershocks is crucial in determining a region’s risk for disasters. To determine the duration of aftershocks, scientists studied the stable continental interior of North America, where earthquakes are rare. Using statistical methods, they analyzed the timing and grouping of earthquakes that occurred after three major historical earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.5 to 8: one near southeast Quebec, Canada in 1663; a series of earthquakes near the Missouri-Kentucky border from 1811 to 1812; and an earthquake in Charleston, South Carolina in 1886.

The findings, which were published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, indicate that the 1663 earthquake in Quebec has likely run its course. However, the researchers were surprised to find that almost one third of contemporary earthquakes in the Missouri-Kentucky region were most likely aftershocks from the 1811-12 event. Additionally, about 16% of recent earthquakes in the Charleston area are believed to be aftershocks from the 1886 quake.

Source: theguardian.com