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Japanâ€™s recent magnitude 9 earthquake, which triggered a devastating tsunami, relieved stress along part of the quake fault but also has contributed to the buildup of stress in other areas, putting some of the country at risk for up to years of sizeable aftershocks and perhaps new main shocks.
While Japanâ€™s massive earthquake and accompanying tsunami represent a devastating natural disaster for the countryâ€™s residents, scientists should also seize upon the massive temblor as an important learning tool for future quakes around the world, including the Pacific Northwest coast of the United States.
The massive earthquake that struck Chile Feb 27 occurred in an offshore zone that was under increased stress caused by Chile's 1960 quake.
The magnitude 7 earthquake that triggered disastrous destruction and mounting death tolls in Haiti this week occurred in a highly complex tangle of tectonic faults near the intersection of the Caribbean and North American crustal plates.