Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Indo-Australian lithosphere plate cracked in two

Because of a series of the strongest earthquake near the Indonesian island of Sumatra split Indo-Australian lithosphere plate, which, according to scientists, can lead to disasters throughout the world, which will continue for several years?

A series of aftershocks occurred in April of this year. It led to a split in the Indo-Australian lithosphere plate in two. The results of observations of scientists published in the journal Nature.

"We've never seen an earthquake like this. It is part of the complex processes occurring in the split of the lithosphere plate. This geological process - the formation of new plate boundaries will leave millions of years and is likely to happen in that time a thousand earthquakes of such force "- said one of the study's authors, of the University of Utah Keith Khoper.

From Khoper agrees fellow Caltech Hiro Kanamori. "This earthquake was unique," - he said.

Khoper and colleagues of the three research groups have begun to explore the consequences of the earthquake, which occurred off the coast of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean on April 11. Seismographs recorded a series of aftershocks with magnitude 8,6-8,7 Richter scale. The earthquake did not lead to the emergence of high-risk tsunami in the sea, and destruction on the land.

Explaining the causes of earthquakes, the researchers found that their epicenters were not at the junction of tectonic plates, as is usually the case, and within the Indo-Australian lithosphere plate. Geologists have found in the epicenter four giant faults extending for hundreds of kilometers. The researchers believe that this indicates that the slab was split into two parts.

"Before, we could observe about the same faults in a relatively small scale. In our case, we observe an unprecedented event - the giant tectonic plates split" - said one of the researchers Thorne Lay.

According to geologists, it is quite rare tectonic process. The most well-known consequence of this process is the earthquake in 1906 in California with a magnitude 7.7 tremor which was felt throughout the western United States.

Now the Indo-Australian plate is split into "Asian" and "Australian" part that move to the north-east. The first part with the bumps in the Himalayan region to the Asian lithosphere plate, and it slows down its rate of displacement. The second sinks under rocks upon which Sumatra.

Employees of the U.S. Geological Survey said that the effects of the split plate will be felt by other parts of the Earth.

"We found a lot of fairly large earthquakes around the world, including the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in California, Indonesia and Japan. If such an earthquake occurred in urban areas, the consequences would be catastrophic," - said one of the authors of Roland Burgmann of the University of California.

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