Poster of the Northern Sumatra, Indonesia Earthquake of 09 May 2010 - Magnitude 7.2

Tectonic Summary

The northern Sumatra earthquake of May 9, 2010 occurred as a result of thrust faulting on or near the subduction interface plate boundary between the Australia-India and Sunda plates. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia and India Plates move north-northeast with respect to the Sunda plate at a velocity of approximately 60-65 mm/yr. On the basis of the currently available fault mechanism information and earthquake depth, it is likely that this earthquake occurred along the plate interface.

The subduction zone surrounding the immediate region of this event slipped during the devastating Mw 9.1 earthquake of December 2004, and today's event appears to have occurred within the rupture zone of that earthquake. Today's earthquake is the latest in a sequence of large ruptures along the Sunda megathrust, including a M 7.8 in April of this year, approximately 200 km to the south of today's event; two M 7.4 earthquakes beneath Simeulue approximately 100 km to the south in 2002 and 2008; a M 8.6 210 km to the south in 2005; a M 7.5 650 km to the south near Padang in 2009; and two events of M8.5 and M7.9 approximately 1000 km to the south in 2007.

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