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Faults can reseal months after quakes

Measurements in southern China find quick healing of fractured rock

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9:40am, June 28, 2013

After an earthquake, fault zones may need no more than a couple of years to regain their strength, research suggests. But the recovery is not without setbacks: Large, distant quakes can redamage fragile faults and prolong healing.

A fault weakened by a rupture won’t begin to build up stress again until it’s strong enough. So the new findings, published in the June 28 Science, should help researchers understand the timing of earthquake cycles in a fault zone.

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