It has long been recognized that the locations and geometries of large subduction zone thrust earthquakes are influenced by features on the subducting plate (Mogi 1969; Vogt et al. 1976; Kelleher and McCann 1976; Cloos 1992; Bilek 2007; Das and Watts 2009). This phenomenon is particularly evident along the South American trench, where the recent 27 February 2010 Mw 8.8 Maule, Chile, earthquake is the latest in a series of six events larger than Mw ∼ 8.5 that have occurred along the trench since 1900 (Table 1). A striking...

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