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The largest in a series of earthquakes occurring closely in time and space. The mainshock may be preceded by foreshocks or followed by aftershocks.
The largest earthquake in a "cluster" of earthquakes. Mainshocks are sometimes precede by "foreshocks", and generally followed by aftershocks.
mainshock. The largest earthquake in a sequence, sometimes preceded by one or more foreshocks, and almost always followed by many aftershocks.
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August Christian Manthey
Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka