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Old Earthquake Faults Worn Smooth Over Time Due to Friction, Research Shows

Earth/Science News

March 13, 2007
Earthquake faults are worn smooth over time by friction, like the brake pads of an old car, according to a new study. The finding suggests old and new faults might generate different types of earthquakes. Because old and new faults are so different, everything about the earthquakes they generate — their birth, strength and propagation — could be different as well, the researchers speculate. “We don’t know how the amount of shaking from the same size earthquake acts on different kinds of faults. It could be that the smoother, mature faults give you a less bumpy ride.”

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