Scientists get first look at cause of 'slow motion' earthquakes


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An international team of scientists has for the first time identified the conditions deep below the Earth’s surface that lead to the triggering of so-called ‘slow motion’ earthquakes.

These events, more commonly known as slow slip events, are similar to regular sudden and catastrophic earthquakes but take place on much longer timescales, usually from days to months.
By drilling down to just over 1km deep in water depths of 3.5km off the coast of New Zealand, the team have shown that the fault zone areas in which slow slip events occur are characterised by a ‘mash up’ of different rock types.
The results, published today in the journal Science Advances, showed that the areas are comprised of extremely rough sea floor topography made of rocks that varied markedly in size, type and physical characteristics.
The lead author of the paper, Dr. Philip…



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