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A massive earthquake in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean in 2016 ricocheted east then west like a geologic boomerang.

Boomerang quakes have only been rarely anecdotally reported, and never before recorded scientifically. This strangely complex earthquake happened on a relatively simple, straight-line fault called an ocean transform fault. That suggests such weird, ricocheting quakes could happen on other straight-line faults, such as the San Andreas Fault that snakes along California’s coast.

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