Poster of the Off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra Earthquake of 10 January 2012 - Magnitude 7.3
The January 10, 2012 earthquake off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia, occurred as a result of strike-slip faulting within the oceanic lithosphere of the Indo-Australia plate, approximately 100 km to the southwest of the major subduction zone that defines the plate boundary between the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates offshore Sumatra. At the location of this earthquake, the Indo-Australia plate moves north-northeast with respect to the Sunda plate at a velocity of approximately 52 mm/yr.
While they are rare, large strike-slip earthquakes are not unprecedented in this region of the Indo-Australian plate. Since the massive M 9.1 earthquake that ruptured a 1300 km long segment of the Sumatran megathrust plate boundary in December of 2004, two Mw 6.2 strike-slip events have occurred within 50 km of the January 10 2012 event, on April 19 2006, and October 4 2007. These events seem to align with fabric of the sea floor in the diffuse boundary zone between the Indian and Australian plates.
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