Abstract

High-resolution multibeam bathymetry data from the Sumatran subduction zone reveal the regional and local morphology, including small-scale fault-related features and landslides that may be linked to earthquakes in the recent geological past. The accretionary prism is steeply sloped and pervasively eroded, with evidence of unusual landward vergence (seaward fault dip) of the frontal thrusts. Small-scale (5–100 m height) fault scarps, folds, and troughs are common along the seaward edge of the frontal thrust at the deformation front. A model of back-thrust fault slip or bending moment folding during plate-boundary slip, such as during the 2004 M9.2 megathrust earthquake, can explain the position of these features on the seaward fold limb of a seaward-dipping thrust. We infer that in major Sumatran (and other similar settings) plate-boundary earthquakes, coseismic surface rupture may occur at the prism toe.

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