Aftershock Forecast Overview

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Most large earthquakes are followed by additional earthquakes, called aftershocks, which make up an aftershock sequence. While most aftershocks are smaller than the mainshock, they can still be damaging or deadly. A small fraction of earthquakes are followed by a larger earthquake, in which case the first earthquake is referred to as a foreshock. For example, the 2011 M9.1 Japan earthquake and tsunami was preceded by a M7.3 foreshock two days before. When the M7.3 earthquake first occurred, it was called the mainshock, and then when the M9.1 earthquake occurred, that larger earthquake became the mainshock.

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