Refinements on the inferred causative faults of the great 2012 Indian Ocean earthquakes

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Revathy M P and Kusala Rajendran, Indian Institute of Science, Centre for Earth Sciences, Bangalore, India
As the largest known intra-plate strike-slip events, the pair of 2012 earthquakes in the Wharton Basin is a rarity. Separated in time by 2 hours these events rouse interest also because of their short inter-event duration, complex rupture mechanism, and spatial-temporal proximity to the great 2004 Sumatra plate boundary earthquake. Reactivation of fossil ridge-transform pairs is a favoured mechanism for large oceanic plate earthquakes and their inherent geometry triggers earthquakes on conjugate fault systems, as observed previously in the Wharton Basin. The current debate is whether the ruptures occurred on the WNW-ESE paleo ridges or the NNE-SSW paleo transforms. Back-projection models give a complex rupture pattern that favours the WNW-ESE fault [1]. However, the static stress changes due to the 2004 Sumatra earthquake and 2005 Nias earthquake favour the N15°E fault [2]. We use the Teleseismic Body-Wave Inversion Program [3] and waveform data from Global Seismic Network, to obtain the best fit solutions using P and S-wave synthetic modelling. The preliminary P-wave analysis of both earthquakes gives source parameters that are consistent with the Harvard CMT solutions. The obtained slip distribution complies with the NNE-SSW transforms. Both these earthquakes triggered small tsunamis which appear as two distinctive pulses on 13 Indian Ocean tide gauges and buoys. Frequency spectra of the tsunami recordings from various azimuths provide additional constraint for the choice of the causative faults.


[1] Yue, H., T. Lay, and K. D. Koper (2012), En echelon and orthogonal fault ruptures of the 11 April 2012 great intraplate earthquakes, Nature, 490, 245-249, doi:10.1038/nature11492

[2] Delescluse, M., N. Chamot-Rooke, R. Cattin, L. Fleitout, O. Trubienko and C. Vigny April 2012 intra-oceanic seismicity off Sumatra boosted by the Banda-Aceh megathrust, Nature, 490(2012), pp. 240–244, doi:10.1038/nature11520

[3] M. Kikuchi and H. Kanamori, Note on Teleseismic Body-Wave Inversion Program, http://www.eri.u-tokyo.ac.jp/ETAL/KIKUCHI/