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Sci Adv. 2018 Jan 31;4(1):eaao6596. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao6596. eCollection 2018 Jan.

Areas prone to slow slip events impede earthquake rupture propagation and promote afterslip.

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Sorbonne Université, CNRS-INSU, Institut des Sciences de la Terre Paris, ISTeP UMR 7193, F-75005 Paris, France.
Université Côte d'Azur, IRD, CNRS, Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur, Géoazur, Valbonne, France.
Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, UMR 7154 CNRS, Paris, France.
Instituto Geofísico, Escuela Politécnica Nacional, Quito, Ecuador.


At subduction zones, transient aseismic slip occurs either as afterslip following a large earthquake or as episodic slow slip events during the interseismic period. Afterslip and slow slip events are usually considered as distinct processes occurring on separate fault areas governed by different frictional properties. Continuous GPS (Global Positioning System) measurements following the 2016 Mw (moment magnitude) 7.8 Ecuador earthquake reveal that large and rapid afterslip developed at discrete areas of the megathrust that had previously hosted slow slip events. Regardless of whether they were locked or not before the earthquake, these areas appear to persistently release stress by aseismic slip throughout the earthquake cycle and outline the seismic rupture, an observation potentially leading to a better anticipation of future large earthquakes.

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