High potential for splay faulting in the Molucca Sea, Indonesia: November 2019 mw 7.2 earthquake and tsunami

Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Takeo Ishibe, Tomoya Harada, Danny Hilman Natawidjaja, Ignatius Ryan Pranantyo, Bayu Triyogo Widyantoro

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5 Citations (SciVal)


Tsunami potential from high dip-angle splay faults is an understudied topic, although such splay faults can significantly amplify coastal tsunami heights as compared with ordinary thrust faults. Here, we identify a hotspot for tsunamis from splay faulting in the Molucca Sea arc-arc collision zone in eastern Indonesia, which accommodates one of the world's most complicated tectonic settings. The November 2019 Mw 7.2 earthquake and tsunami are studied through teleseismic inversions assuming rupture velocities in the range 1:5-4:0 km= s followed by tsunami simulations. The normalized root mean square error index was applied and revealed that the best model has a rupture velocity of 2:0 km= s from the steeply dipping plane. The recent high dip-angle reverse 2019 Mw 7.2 and 2014 Mw 7.1 earthquakes combined with numerous similar seismic events may indicate that this region is prone to splay faulting. This study highlights the need for understanding tsunamis from splay faulting in other subduction zones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2915-2926
Number of pages12
JournalSeismological Research Letters
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors used the Generic Mapping Tools (GMT) software of Wessel and Smith (1998) in this study. The authors are very grateful to Editor-in-Chief, Allison Bent, and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. This research is funded by the Royal Society (the United Kingdom) (Grant Number CHL\R1\180173).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Seismological Society of America. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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