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Study Reveals New Fault Forming in Indian Ocean May Trigger Quakes in Future

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A team of researchers from Singapore, France and Indonesia in a study found the evidence of the possibility of formation of a new plate boundary on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin.

  • The study published in the journal Science Advances estimated that the new plate may be forming because of the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012 and it may further lead to more earth quakes in future.

Key Highlights of the Study

According to the researchers, Slip-Strike Quake occurs when two plates slide horizontally against one another. Such quakes can be caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate.

  • The researchers believe that it is the same scenario that happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman-Sumatran region of the Indian Ocean, the largest interplate earthquakes ever recorded.
  • The researchers studied seismic data that was recorded before, during and after the quakes and also conducted sea floor depth analysis by venturing into the ocean aboard the research vessel Falkor.Indian Ocean
  • They created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor which allowed them to note the deformations that had occurred
  • The slip-strike quake can lead to interplate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary, which in turn can lead to even more quakes.
  • Their analysis revealed a new fault system had developed in the area off the coast of Sumatra that was involved in the 2012 quakes.
  • The data showed that the plate had broken along a 1,000 km fracture zone, resulting in a new plate boundary that is likely to encounter future fault-slip quakes.
  • The 2012 Indian Ocean earthquakes were magnitude 8.6 and 8.2 Mw undersea earthquakes that struck near the Indonesian province of Aceh on 11 April. The earthquake was the 13th strongest earthquake since 1900 and the largest strike-slip earthquake ever recorded.