New found fracture can trigger more quakes in Indian Ocean: Scientists

Port Blair
10 Jan 2017
Scientists have warned of massive quakes in the Indian Ocean after finding that a new plate boundary is forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean due to the largest earthquake that shook the Andaman-Sumatra region in 2012. According to a study published in the journal Science Advances, the new fault system could trigger more quakes in the future.
Researchers, including those from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, have found evidence of a possible new plate boundary forming on the floor of the Indian Ocean in the Wharton Basin. A shock of quake occurs when two parallel plates slide horizontally against one another. This causes a collision between the two plates. Such quakes are caused by deformations that occur in plates distant from fault lines as pressure builds up across a plate. This can lead to inter-plate earthquakes and cause a plate to break, resulting in a new boundary and this in turn can lead to even more quakes, says the study.
After observing this phenomenon, researchers now believe that what happened in 2012 when two earthquakes struck the Andaman Sumatran region, in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean can be repeated again. The largest inter-plate earthquakes were then recorded. Researchers have thoroughly studied seismic data that was recorded before, during and after the 2012 quakes. They conducted sea floor depth analysis by undertaking into the ocean aboard a research vessel.
The researchers created a high-resolution imagery of the sea floor, which unveiled deformations that had occurred so far inside the ocean. The analysis has shown a new fault system that had developed lately, in the area off the coast of Sumatra. It first evolved during 2012 earthquake. The data analysis has also shown that the plate had broken as long as a 1,000 km fracture zone, which has resulted in a new plate boundary. It is most likely to be the site of future fault-slip quakes.