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# 13/10/2018 Foreshock - Wikipedia

Foreshock
A foreshock is an earthquake that occurs before a larger seismic event (the mainshock) and is related to it in both time and space. The designation of an earthquake
as foreshock, mainshock or aftershock is only possible after the full sequence of events has happened.[1]

Contents
Occurrence
Mechanics
Earthquake prediction
Examples of earthquakes with foreshock events
References

Occurrence
Foreshock activity has been detected for about 40% of all moderate to large earthquakes,[2] and about 70% for events of M>7.0.[3] They occur from a matter of minutes
to days or even longer before the main shock; for example, the 2002 Sumatra earthquake is regarded as a foreshock of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake with a delay
of more than two years between the two events.[4]

Some great earthquakes (M>8.0) show no foreshock activity at all, such as the M8.6 1950 India - China earthquake.[3]

The increase in foreshock activity is difficult to quantify for individual earthquakes but becomes apparent when combining the results of many different events. From
such combined observations, the increase before the mainshock is observed to be of inverse power law type. This may either indicate that foreshocks cause stress
changes resulting in the mainshock or that the increase is related to a general increase in stress in the region.[5]

Mechanics
The observation of foreshocks associated with many earthquakes suggests that they are part of a preparation process prior to nucleation.[2] In one model of
earthquake rupture, the process forms as a cascade, starting with a very small event that triggers a larger one, continuing until the main shock rupture is triggered.
However, analysis of some foreshocks has shown that they tend to relieve stress around the fault. In this view, foreshocks and aftershocks are part of the same
process. This is supported by an observed relationship between the rate of foreshocks and the rate of aftershocks for an event.[6]

Earthquake prediction
An increase in seismic activity in an area has been used as a method of predicting earthquakes, most notably in the case of the 1975 Haicheng earthquake in China,
where an evacuation was triggered by an increase in activity. However, most earthquakes lack obvious foreshock patterns and this method has not proven useful, as
most small earthquakes are not foreshocks, leading to probable false alarms.[7] Earthquakes along oceanic transform faults do show repeatable foreshock behaviour,
allowing the prediction of both the location and timing of such earthquakes.[8]

## Examples of earthquakes with foreshock events

The strongest recorded mainshock that followed a foreshock is the 1960 Valdivia earthquake, which had a magnitude of 9.5 MW.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreshock 1/3
13/10/2018 Foreshock - Wikipedia

Flag
Date Magnitude
and Region Date Depth Magnitude Intensity Name Deceased Tsunami
(Foreshock) (Foreshock)
Country
1904
April 4, 1904 Blagoevgrad April 4, X-XI
(23 minutes)
6.3 MW
region 1904
15 km 7.0 MW
Mercalli
Krupnik >60 ✖
Bulgaria
earthquake
1960
May 21, 1960 Chile Araucanía May 22,
(1 day)
7.9 MW
Region 1960
35 km 9.5 MW XII Mercalli Valdivia 1,655 ✔
earthquake
2004 Indian
November 2, December Ocean
7.3 MW Sumatra 30 km 9.1 MW IX Mercalli 230,000 ✔
2002 (2 years) Indonesia 26, 2004 earthquake
and tsunami
October 20,
August VIII 2007 Peru
2006 (299 6.4 MW[9] Peru Ica Region 35 km 8.0 MW 596 ✔
15, 2007 Mercalli earthquake
days)
January 23, 2007 Aysén
Aysén April 21,
2007 (3 5.2 ML[10] Chile 6 km 6.2 MW VII Mercalli Fjord 10 ✔
Region 2007
months) earthquake
2011
IX Mercalli
March 9, 2011 Miyagi March 11, Tōhoku
7.3 MW[11] 30 km 9.0 MW and 7 15,891 ✔
(2 days) Japan Prefecture 2011 earthquake
Shindo
and tsunami
2014
March 16, Tarapacá April 1, VIII
6.7 MW[12] Chile 20.1 km 8.2 MW Iquique 7 ✔
2014 (15 days) Region 2014 Mercalli
earthquake
2016
April 14, 2016 Kumamoto April 16,
(2 days)
6.2 MW
Prefecture 2016
11 km 7.0 MW IX Mercalli Kumamoto 41 ✖
Japan earthquakes
2017
April 22, 2017 Chile Valparaíso April 24,
(2 days)
4.8 MW
Region 2017
24.8 km 6.9 MW VII Mercalli Valparaiso 0 ✔
earthquake

## Note: dates are in local time

References
5. Maeda, K. (1999). "Time distribution of immediate foreshocks obtained by a
1. Gates, A.; Ritchie, D. (2006). Encyclopedia of Earthquakes and Volcanoes (h
stacking method". In Wyss M., Shimazaki K. & Ito A. Seismicity patterns,
their statistical significance and physical meaning (https://books.google.com/
+earthquake&hl=en&ei=1bzzTIcWwbCFB4WQnZUM&sa=X&oi=book_result
books?id=QIy6le4sCMAC&pg=PA381&dq=foreshock&hl=en&ei=aJLzTO3zJ
&ct=result&resnum=10&ved=0CFwQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=foreshock%2
4q0hAe3wNXFDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CCw
0earthquake&f=false). Infobase Publishing. p. 89. ISBN 978-0-8160-6302-4.
Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=foreshock&f=false). Reprint from Pageoph
Retrieved 29 November 2010.
Topical Volumes. Birkhäuser. pp. 381–394. ISBN 978-3-7643-6209-6.
2. National Research Council (U.S.). Committee on the Science of Earthquakes Retrieved 29 November 2010.
(2003). "5. Earthquake Physics and Fault-System Science". Living on an
6. Felzer, K.R.; Abercrombie R.E.; Ekström G. (2004). "A Common Origin for
Active Earth: Perspectives on Earthquake Science (http://www.nap.edu/open
Aftershocks, Foreshocks, and Multiplets" (http://128.197.153.21/rea/web_onli
book.php?record_id=10493&page=282). Washington D.C.: National
ne/SSA03069_felzer_feb04.PDF) (PDF). Bulletin of the Seismological
Academies Press. p. 418. ISBN 978-0-309-06562-7. Retrieved 29 November
Society of America. 94 (1). Bibcode:2004BuSSA..94...88F (http://adsabs.har
2010.
vard.edu/abs/2004BuSSA..94...88F). doi:10.1785/0120030069 (https://doi.or
3. Kayal, J.R. (2008). Microearthquake seismology and seismotectonics of g/10.1785%2F0120030069). Retrieved 29 November 2010.
7. Ludwin, R. (16 September 2004). "Earthquake Prediction" (http://www.ess.w
&dq=foreshock+earthquake&hl=en&ei=g7_zTKDWFdaAhAfLi-S2DA&sa=X&
ashington.edu/SEIS/PNSN/INFO_GENERAL/eq_prediction.html). The
oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=6&ved=0CEQQ6AEwBTgU#v=onepage&
Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
q=foreshock%20earthquake&f=false). Springer. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4020-
8179-8. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 8. McGuire, J.J.; Boettcher M.S.; Jordan T.H. (2005). "Foreshock sequences
and short-term earthquake predictability on East Pacific Rise transform
4. Vallée, M. (2007). "Rupture Properties of the Giant Sumatra Earthquake
faults" (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v434/n7032/abs/nature03377.ht
Imaged by Empirical Green's Function Analysis" (https://web.archive.org/we
ml). Nature. 434 (7032): 457–461. Bibcode:2005Natur.434..457M (http://ads
b/20110723201958/http://mahabghodss.net/NewBooks/www/web/digital/nas
abs.harvard.edu/abs/2005Natur.434..457M). doi:10.1038/nature03377 (http
hrieh/bssa/2007/january%201%202007-%2097%20issue%201a/S103.pdf)
s://doi.org/10.1038%2Fnature03377). PMID 15791246 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.
(PDF). Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 97 (1A): S103–
nih.gov/pubmed/15791246). Retrieved 29 November 2010.
BuSSA..97S.103V). doi:10.1785/0120050616 (https://doi.org/10.1785%2F01 9. "El Sismo del 20 de Octubre de 2006" (http://www.igp.gob.pe/portal/images/d
20050616). Archived from the original (http://mahabghodss.net/NewBooks/w ocuments/sismos/ise-2006/pisco_2006.pdf) (PDF) (in Spanish). IGP.
ww/web/digital/nashrieh/bssa/2007/january%201%202007-%2097%20issu 10. "Informe de sismo sensible" (http://www.sismologia.cl/events/sensibles/2007/
e%201a/S103.pdf) (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 29 November 2010. 01/23-2042-12L.S200701.html) (in Spanish). GUC.
11. "Magnitude 7.3 - NEAR THE EAST COAST OF HONSHU, JAPAN" (https://w
eb.archive.org/web/20110312171744/http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquake
s/eqinthenews/2011/usb0001r57/). USGS. Archived from the original (https://
earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eqinthenews/2011/usb0001r57/) on 2011-
03-12.

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13/10/2018 Foreshock - Wikipedia
12. "Informe de sismo sensible" (http://www.sismologia.cl/events/sensibles/2014/
03/16-2116-30L.S201403.html) (in Spanish). GUC.