The Slowest Earthquake ever Found

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Ancient coral structures called microatolls preserve geological history, and now some in Indonesia have told the tale of a record-breaking 32-year earthquake
Ancient coral structures called microatolls preserve geological history, and now some in Indonesia have told the tale of a record-breaking 32-year earthquake
R. van Woesik, Y. Golbuu and G. Roff/CC BY-SA 4.0

Most earthquakes last seconds to minutes, but others will rumble along slowly for days, weeks or even months, at low frequencies that may not be felt at the surface. Now, researchers in Singapore have discovered the slowest earthquake ever found, which lasted 32 years.

Earthquakes are caused by stress between two tectonic plates pushing against each other, which eventually builds to the point where the rocks can’t handle it and shift. Most of the time that shift is sudden, producing vibrations that can be felt at the surface and potentially cause destruction. But other times, the plates will slide past each other more slowly, producing vibrations that may only be detectable by extremely sensitive equipment.

These slow slip events (SSEs) typically last a few weeks, although some have been recorded to go for as long as three years. But that’s nothing compared to the marathon earthquake that researchers at Nanyang Technological University have now discovered.

The team was investigating some unusual ancient coral structures known as “microatolls” off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. These structures grow slowly, providing a good record of changes in sea level and land elevation in the process.

 

About the Common Constitutionalist

Brent, aka The Common Constitutionalist, is a Constitutional Conservative, and advocates for first principles, founders original intent and enemy of progressives. He is former Navy, Martial Arts expert. As well as publisher of the Common Constitutionalist blog, he also is a contributing writer for Political Outcast, Godfather Politics, Minute Men News (Liberty Alliance), Freedom Outpost, the Daily Caller, Vision To America and Free Republic. He also writes an exclusive weekly column for World Net Daily (WND).