Historic Earthquakes: Tectonic Summary

Magnitude 7.0 PAPUA, INDONESIA
2004 February 05 21:05:04 UTC

This earthquake occurred in a region considered to have the most complex present-day tectonics on Earth. In the area surrounding Irian Java (the western half of New Guinea), four major tectonic plates, the Australian, Southeast Asian, Philippine Sea, and Pacific plates, sandwich half a dozen proposed microplates. The interactions between these micro-plates produce all possible styles of faulting. This particular earthquake ruptured a strike-slip fault near the boundary of the Bird's Head plate and the recently proposed Maoke plate.