Saturday, 8 December 2012

Killed-Off Corals Hold Clues to Earthquake Prediction

SAN FRANCISCO — Some of the biggest coral die-offs in recorded history happened in 2004 and 2005, after massive earthquakes in Sumatra, off the coast of Indonesia.

Now, researchers report similar evidence of ancient massive coral kills on Simeulue Island, caused by ancient earthquakes. An analysis of the fossil coral beds provides clues to the history of megaearthquakes in the region, and could help predict future quakes, researchers said Monday (Dec. 3) at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Simeulue Island lies off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, where the 2004 earthquake stopped and the 2005 shaker began to rip the fault apart. Earthquakes of this size may break a fault for hundreds of miles, but they do have a starting and stopping point.

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