Abstract

The ∼1300-km-long rupture zone of the 2004 Andaman–Sumatra megathrust earthquake continues to generate a mix of thrust, normal, and strike-slip faulting events. The 12 June 2010 Mw 7.5 event on the subducting plate is the most recent large earthquake on the Nicobar segment. The left-lateral faulting mechanism of this event is unusual for the outer-rise region, considering the stress transfer processes that follow great underthrusting earthquakes. Another earthquake (Mw 7.2) with a similar mechanism occurred very close to this event on 24 July 2005. These earthquakes and most of their aftershocks on the subducting plate were generated by left-lateral strike-slip faulting on north-northeast–south-southwest oriented near-vertical faults, in response to north-northwest–south-southeast directed compression. Pre-2004 earthquake faulting mechanisms on the subducting oceanic plate are consistent with this pattern. Post-2004, left-lateral faulting on the subducting oceanic plate clusters between 5° N and 9° N, where the 90° E ridge impinges the trench axis. Our study observes that the subducting plate off the Sumatra and Nicobar segments behaves similarly to a chip of the India–Australia plate, deforming in response to a generally northwest-southeast oriented compression, an aspect that must be factored into the plate deformation models.

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