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Big earthquakes like the Sendai quake that devastated Japan in March don’t cause similar disasters on the other side of the globe, a new study suggests.

Like ranks of falling dominoes, tremors on the scale of the Sendai quake can trigger other earthquakes, say geophysicists at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif. But, based on analyses of about 30 years of seismic data, those shocks are all very small or sit close to the original fault break, the group reports online March 27 in Nature Geoscience.

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Category: Science