Posts Tagged ‘Sumatran Earthquakes’

The Extinction Protocol

September 27, 2012 INDONESIAPlanet Earth may be 4.5 billion years old, but that doesn’t mean it can’t serve up a shattering surprise now and again. Such was the case on April 11 when two massive earthquakes erupted beneath the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, far from the usual danger zones. Now scientists say the seafloor ruptures are part of a long suspected, yet never before observed, event: the slow-motion splitting of a vast tectonic plate. The first of the quakes, a magnitude 8.7, was 20 times more powerful than California’s long anticipated “big one” and tore a complex network of faults deep in the ocean floor. The violence also triggered unusually large aftershocks thousands of miles away, including four off North America’s western coast. “It was jaw-dropping,” said Thorne Lay, a professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UC Santa Cruz…

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