Foreshocks, Mainshocks, and Aftershocks
Aftershocks are earthquakes that follow the largest shock of an earthquake sequence. They are smaller than the mainshock and within 1-2 fault lengths distance from the mainshock fault. Aftershocks can continue over a period of weeks, months, or years. In general, the larger the mainshock, the larger and more numerous the aftershocks, and the longer they will continue. Foreshocks are relatively smaller earthquakes that precede the largest earthquake in a series, which is termed the mainshock. Not all mainshocks have foreshocks.