Distant Earthquakes Can Cause Underwater Landslides

Schematic diagram illustrating a slope failure on a continental margin caused by either a local or distant earthquake, similar to a terrestrial landslide. On the upper part of the continental margin near the shallow continental shelf, shaking from the earthquake dislodges loose sediment, which flows downhill and entrains sea water, becoming more fluid and more turbulent. This chaotic motion of fluid within the sediment flow sustains the turbidity current, which can flow for hundreds of kilometers once it reaches the deep abyssal plain. Credit: NOAA/public domain


A joint release by the American Geophysical Union and the University of Washington
June 27, 2017

A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, a publication of the American Geophysical Union, finds large earthquakes can trigger underwater landslides thousands of miles away, weeks or months after the quake occurs. The new finding could have implications for tsunamis in the region and may complicate estimations of earthquake risk. Read more at the American Geophysical Union.