Earthquakes are the actual event of plate tectonics shifting (main shock), while the aftershock can be seen as a smaller earthquake (smaller shock) that follows the main shock. Aftershocks typically occur in the same area as the earthquake epicenter (where the strongest point of the earthquake exists) and even surrounding areas. The aftershock does not last as long as the main shock and can occur in a series rather than one big event.
An aftershock is what occurs after the main shock. After the initial quake the tectonic plates are becoming accustomed to their new position. You could think of an after shock as you wiggling to get comfortable in your favorite chair after you plop down into it.
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