Tsunami triggered by one-two punch

First recorded observation of unusual earthquake sequence

By Laura Sanders, 10:45 AM August 18, 2010

A giant earthquake that triggered a deadly southwest Pacific tsunami was actually two great temblors, finds a pair of new studies in the Aug. 19 Nature. These results uncover an unusual sequence of geological events that is the first of its kind to be observed by scientists, the study authors say.

The earthquakes, which likely struck within two minutes of each other on September 29, 2009, spawned a tsunami that killed nearly 200 people in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga. Scientists assumed...

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