Earth’s big breakup

Powerful motions beneath the Indian Ocean unleashed a series of earthquakes near Sumatra

By Stephen Ornes, 10:06 AM October 16, 2012




In April, a powerful earthquake shook Sumatra, an island in the Indian Ocean that’s part of the country of Indonesia. Two hours later, a second earthquake — one nearly as powerful — hit the same region. This one-two punch had a big reach: It set off additional quakes as far away as Mexico.


The Sumatra earthquakes occurred near where a 2004 earthquake struck and caused a tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people. Big quakes also hit the area in 2005 and 2007. Scientists now suspec...

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