THE QUAKE THAT WASN'T

THE EARTH MOVED, SO HOW COME NO ONE NOTICED?

You'd think that if the San Andreas Fault went to the trouble of having a perfectly good earthquake, the folks on the West Coast might at least notice. A new study reveals, however, that in 1992, what should have been a china-smashing 4.8 Richter-scale quake hit central California, and yet nobody felt a thing. The explanation for the odd shadow-quake was published last week in the journal Nature and may help improve science's understanding of earthquakes in general.

According to Alan T. Linde, a geophysicist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington and the study's leader, what makes seismic events so destructive...

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