2010 Chilean Earthquake Triggered Icequakes in Antarctica

A seismic network recently installed on the West Antarctic ice sheet unexpectedly picked up icequakes triggered by a strong but distant earthquake. Here, Doug Wiens, professor of geology at Washington University (far left), helps bury a seismometer in the new POLENET array. (Credit: Courtesy of Doug Wiens)

First demonstration that large earthquakes trigger secondary quakes in the polar ice as well as on land

In March 2010, the ice sheets in Antarctica vibrated a bit more than usual as a surface wave from an 8.8-magnitude earthquake in Chile 3,000 kilometers away passed through the ice. Powerful earthquakes were known to trigger secondary quakes along faults in land; this was the first observation of triggered quakes in the ice.

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