When several newsworthy earthquakes occur within a month or so, seismologists are faced with the inevitable questions: Why do earthquake clusters occur? Is there some global linkage between these events? The earthquakes that occurred in the last months of 1999 are one example of an earthquake cluster. Of course, we do acknowledge that large earthquakes trigger aftershocks on the ruptured fault zone, and that one earthquake may trigger another event on a nearby fault due to static stress changes, or possibly even at remote locations due to seismic wave dynamic stresses. But most of us would say that global-scale clusters...

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