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The Java margin is characterized by a distinct variation in lower to upper plate material transfer and recurring catastrophic tsunamogenic earthquakes. Both processes are closely linked to the subduction of oceanic basement relief resulting in varying degrees of fore-arc deformation. Tomographic models of refraction seismic profiles and reflection seismic lines in combination with high-resolution multibeam bathymetric data reveal the variability in the deep structure and deformation of the Java fore-arc. Shallow subduction processes are governed by the sediment supply in the trench as well as by the nature and fabric of the oceanic lithosphere. The deep structure of the fore-arc reveals a shallow upper plate crust–mantle transition, present along the entire Java margin section. The serpentinized fore-arc mantle wedge governs the depth extent of the seismogenic zone here, which is narrower compared to its Sumatran analogue. In addition, offshore central Java, high relief oceanic basement features potentially act as asperities as well as barriers to seismic rupture, limiting the possible magnitude of subduction thrust earthquakes. However, the potential for geohazards, in particular tsunamis, is high along the entire margin. This results from tsunamogenic earthquakes, ubiquitous splay faults and potentially tsunamogenic landslides, which further increase the risk of future tsunamis.

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