In geology, the elastic rebound theory was the first theory to satisfactorily explain earthquakes.
Previously it was thought that ruptures of the surface were the result of strong ground shaking rather than the converse suggested by this theory.
Following the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, Henry Feilding Reid examined the displacement of the ground surface around the San Andreas Fault.
From his observations he concluded that the earthquake must have been the result of the elastic rebound of previously stored elastic strain energy in the rocks on either side of the fault.
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