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Earthquake risk on the Sunda trench


On 28 March 2005 the Sunda megathrust in Indonesia ruptured again, producing another great earthquake three months after the previous one. The rupture was contiguous with that of the December 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake, and is likely to have been sparked by local stress, although the triggering stresses at its hypocentre were very small — of the order of just 0.1 bar. Calculations show that stresses imposed by the second rupture have brought closer to failure the megathrust immediately to the south, under the Batu and Mentawai islands, and have expanded the area of increased stress on the Sumatra fault. Palaeoseismologic studies show that the Mentawai segment of the Sunda megathrust is well advanced in its seismic cycle and is therefore a good candidate for triggered failure.

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Figure 1: The faults around Sumatra and the Sunda trench.


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Correspondence to John McCloskey.

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Nalbant, S., Steacy, S., Sieh, K. et al. Earthquake risk on the Sunda trench. Nature 435, 756–757 (2005).

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