Monitoring of the Mentawai Seismic Gap

The goal of this research is to build a much improved understanding of seismic hazard in Sumatra using physical models of fault behaviour tuned to geophysical, geological and laboratory observations. The Sunda subduction zone, located only a few hundred kilometres southwest of Singapore, generated some of the deadliest earthquakes and tsunamis in recent history, killing more than 200,000 people since 2004. These tectonic events are not only responsible for local hazards, but also have farther-reaching impacts, such as regional-scale change in sea level and economic setback for neighbouring countries. Much can be done to significantly improve our understanding of the seismic hazard in this region. In fact, the presence of a large plate boundary in Singapore's backyard represents a unique opportunity of observation and analysis. Significant efforts will be directed towards monitoring the kinematics of the region to inform the physical modelling. This will be accomplished by the installation of 20 additional geodetic stations offshore Sumatra. These data and other available observations will form the basis of physical models of fault slip that can simulate long sequences of earthquakes. These calculations account for all phases leading to earthquakes, including slow slip, earthquake initiation and rupture, and the propagation of seismic waves. Such simulations will produce a range of plausible scenarios of future seismicity that will improve seismic hazard mitigation. The proposed research plan represents a timely opportunity for Singapore to promote earthquake preparedness and resilience and have a profound impact on people's lives in neighbouring nations.

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