Constructive, Destructive and Conservative Margins: Earthquakes 4-10 July 2013

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US Earthquakes: The San Andreas Fault Zone

The San Andreas fault zone is clearly marked by earthquake activity. Image credit: USGS

The San Andreas fault zone is clearly marked by earthquake activity. Image credit: USGS

With no major earthquake occurring within the US this week (the largest in the lower 48 was just M3.5, in Arizona) the week offers an opportunity to observe movement along the San Andreas Fault.

A map of the week’s earthquakes clearly demonstrates the association of this major transform fault with a swarm of small earthquakes, which take a strongly linear form compared to the recorded events in the inland mountains, which are more widely dispersed.

Earthquakes This Week

The week demonstrates clearly that all types of plate margin provide the focus for notable earthquakes. Although the general rule of thumb is that the largest earthquakes tend to occur at destructive boundaries and the smallest at constructive boundaries, it’s clear that all three are capable of generating major and damaging seismic events.

Sources

USGS. Real time earthquake map. (2013). Accessed 10 July 2012.

Yeats, R. Active Faults of the World. (2012). Cambridge University Press.

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