Abstract

The 1300-km rupture of the 2004 interplate earthquake terminated at around 15° N, in the northernmost segment of the Andaman–Nicobar subduction zone. This part of the plate boundary is noted for its generally lower level seismicity, compared with the southern segments. Based on the Global Centroid Moment Tensor (CMT) and National Earthquake Information Center (NEIC) data, most of the earthquakes of Mw≥4.5 prior to 2004 were associated with the Andaman Spreading Ridge (ASR), and a few events were located within the forearc basin. The 2004 event was followed by an upward migration of hypocenters along the subducting plate, and the Andaman segment experienced a surge of aftershock activity. The continuing extensional faulting events, including the most recent earthquake (10 August 2009; Mw 7.5) in the northern end of the 2004 rupture, suggest the reduction of compressional strain associated with the interplate event. The style of faulting of the intraplate events before and after a great plate boundary earthquake reflects the relative influences of the plate-driving forces. Here we discuss the pattern of earthquakes in the Andaman segment before and after the 2004 event to appraise the spatial and temporal relation between large interplate thrust events and intraplate deformation. This study suggests that faulting mechanisms in the outer-ridge and outer-rise regions could be indicative of the maturity of interplate seismic cycles.

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