Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements made in Sulawesi, Indonesia, from 1992 to 1999 detected coseismic and transient postseismic deformation related to the 1 January 1996, Mw = 7.9 earthquake on the North Sulawesi (Minahassa) trench. These motions are superimposed on the long-term secular motion (40 mm/yr) of the left-lateral Palu fault in central Sulawesi and continued for about 1.5–2 years. Following the earthquake, a string of earthquakes (of magnitude >6) migrated along the Minahassa trench, from west to east. Subsequently, two earthquakes of magnitude >6 occurred on or near the Palu fault migrating toward the south. Modeling the increase in Coulomb stress generated by the successive earthquakes agrees with the hypothesis of interacting events. An unclamping effect, possibly due to fluid migration in the Palu area, is also suggested by the stress computations and the detected (GPS) displacements.
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