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Least probability of major or great earthquakes beyond 10° North in the northeast Indian Ocean
Catastrophes shake humanity. On 26th December 2004 the coastlines of countries bordering Indian Ocean experienced the most devastating tsunami in recorded history. The tsunami was triggered by an earthquake of magnitude 9.3 on the Richter scale at 3.3° N, 95.78° E off the coast of Sumatra in the Indonesian Archepelago. Earthquakes continued to take place in this area and another major earthquake struck during March 2005 though not giving rise to a devastating tsunami. Populations suffer with such catastrophes. The ones lucky to live, continue their life with a hope of better days. People forget past and look forward for the bright future. Scientists study the reasons of such happenings, interpret the causes and also, at times, consider likelihood of such repetitions. The research results of the 2004 tsunami are still being interpreted. Scientists from NIO studied distinctly different rupture patterns of December 2004 and March 2005 megathrust earthquakes occurred in the Andaman-Sumatra region. They found that these suggest strong influence of tectonic and structural elements. To infer the crustal structure and to examine its influence in controlling the aftershock pattern, shipboard gravity, bathymetry and seismic data across the West Andaman Fault was studied. The results support the idea that the West Andaman Fault forms a lithospheric scale boundary and acts as a barrier modulating the occurrence of large earthquakes and their rupture process in the Andaman Sea. However, the active strike-slip motion along the West Andaman Fault, the presence of ongoing backarc spreading activity coupled with increased obliquity of subduction in the Andaman sector reduce the probability of occurrence of major or great earthquakes north of 10?N. For more information, please read: KameshRaju, K.A.; Murty, G.P.S.; Amarnath, D.; MohanKumar, M.L. The west Andaman fault and its influence on the aftershock pattern of the recent megathrust earthquakes in the Andaman-Sumatra region. Geophys. Res. Lett.: 34(3); 2007; doi:10.1029/2006GL028730; 5pp.
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