Poster of the Indonesia Earthquake of 10 December 2012 - Magnitude 7.1
The December 10, 2012 M 7.1 earthquake northwest of Saumlaki, Indonesia, occurred as a result of predominantly strike-slip faulting at intermediate depths (170 km) near the complex plate boundary between the Australia and Sunda plates in the eastern Banda Sea. At the location of this earthquake, the Australia plate moves towards the north-northeast with respect to Sunda at a velocity of approximately 76 mm/yr. Motion between the two plates is dominantly convergent, and sections of the Australia plate have subducted beneath Sunda; the December 10 earthquake likely represents faulting within the interior of that subducted slab. Eastern Indonesia and the islands of the Banda Sea are no strangers to moderate-to-large earthquakes - the region within 250 km of the December 10 event has hosted over 50 earthquakes of M6 or larger over the past 40 years. Six of those events have been greater than M7, including a M 7.0 earthquake in November of 1998 105 km to the southwest of the December 10, 2012 event, and an M 7.2 earthquake in December of 1992 65 km to the east. None of these magnitude 7+ earthquakes are known to have caused significant damage or fatalities. Earthquakes with depths between 70 and 300 km are commonly termed "intermediate" depth events, as opposed to "shallow" (0-70 km) and "deep-focus" (greater than 300 km) earthquakes. In this region of eastern Indonesia, earthquakes can reach depths of over 500 km.
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