Earth Observatory Blog

Submitted on 01 Mar 2017 by:
Results from the MEGA-TERA expedition point to a new fault system that may be a sign of the Indian and Australian plates breaking up 

On 11 April 2012, a strong quake ruptured in the Wharton Basin of the Indian Ocean, west of Sumatra. Remembering the devastating 2004 tsunami, residents near the shore immediately sought high ground. Thankfully this earthquake was different. At a staggering 8.6-magnitude, it produced a maximum wave height of about one metre.

Why didn’t this earthquake produce a tsunami? Instead of being a thrust earthquake, where plates lurch up and down and displace water, the 2012 quake was a strike-slip, with the crust moving horizontally.

Wharton Basin Earthquake: Record-Smashing

The previous record holder for the largest strike-slip...