Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey/National Earthquake Information Center (usgs/neic) had computed origins for 5000 earthquakes in the Sumatra–Andaman Islands region in the first 36 weeks after the Sumatra–Andaman Islands mainshock of 26 December 2004. The cataloging of earthquakes of mb (usgs) 5.1 and larger is essentially complete for the time period except for the first half-day following the 26 December mainshock, a period of about two hours following the Nias earthquake of 28 March 2005, and occasionally during the Andaman Sea swarm of 26–30 January 2005. Moderate and larger (mb ≥5.5) aftershocks are absent from most of the deep interplate thrust faults of the segments of the Sumatra–Andaman Islands subduction zone on which the 26 December mainshock occurred, which probably reflects nearly complete release of elastic strain on the seismogenic interplate-thrust during the mainshock. An exceptional thrust-fault source offshore of Banda Aceh may represent a segment of the interplate thrust that was bypassed during the mainshock. The 26 December mainshock triggered a high level of aftershock activity near the axis of the Sunda trench and the leading edge of the overthrust Burma plate. Much near-trench activity is intraplate activity within the subducting plate, but some shallow-focus, near-trench, reverse-fault earthquakes may represent an unusual seismogenic release of interplate compressional stress near the tip of the overriding plate. The interplate-thrust Nias earthquake of 28 March 2005, in contrast to the 26 December aftershock sequence, was followed by many interplate-thrust aftershocks along the length of its inferred rupture zone.

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