Irish scientists had predicted further Sumatran earthquake

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005 Irish researchers predicted two weeks ago that there would be further earthquakes in the same region as the massive Boxing Day 2004 quake.

On Monday night a massive 8.7 scale earthquake hit the island of Sumatra.

On March 17, researchers at University of Ulster, Coleraine in northern Ireland published a report in the scientific journal Nature that showed stress was building on the fault near Sumatra and that the risk of a second powerful earthquake was increasing.

The researchers said in the report that in subduction zones, a pair of massive earthquakes relatively close together is not uncommon. The last such incident was 1999 in Duzce, Turkey where a 7.4 magnitude quake was followed by a 7.1 magnitude quake three months later.

In the Nature report, the researchers pointed to evidence suggesting that stresses in the fault near northern Sumatra were significantly higher than those of the 1999 Turkey rupture. The quake that eventually did strike Sumatra was exponentially more massive than the 7.0 to 7.5 magnitude quake the researches suggested in Nature. But it still was less powerful than the December 2004 quake and did not result in any life-threatening tsunami.

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