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New map highlights hotspots for mega-quakes

Published on Dec 5, 2012 11:26 PM
An old tower is seen collapsed after an earthquake in Finale Emilia on May 20, 2012. The epicentre of the 6.0 magnitude quake, the strongest to hit Italy in three years, was in the plains near Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region of the Po River Valley. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Seismologists on Wednesday unveiled a map highlighting zones most prone to unleashing the world's biggest earthquakes, including the 9.0 monster that struck northeastern Japan in March 2011.

These mega-quakes spring mostly from regions where fractures on the sea floor intersect with subduction zones, or zones where one slab of Earth's crust is diving slowly under another, they said.

The evidence is statistical, coming from data from 1,500 earthquakes.

Over the past century, half of the 50 largest earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.4 or more have occurred at these dangerous intersections, the scientists said.

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