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Nature. 2007 Sep 6;449(7158):75-8.

The potential for giant tsunamigenic earthquakes in the northern Bay of Bengal.

Author information

1
Geoscience Australia, GPO Box 378, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia. phil.cummins@ga.gov.au

Abstract

The great Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 came as a surprise to most of the earth science community. Although it is now widely recognized that the risk of another giant earthquake is high off central Sumatra, just east of the 2004 earthquake, there seems to be relatively little concern about the subduction zone to the north, in the northern Bay of Bengal along the coast of Myanmar. Here I show that similar indicators suggest a high potential for giant earthquakes along the coast of Myanmar. These indicators include the tectonic environment, which is similar to other subduction zones that experience giant megathrust earthquakes, stress and crustal strain observations, which indicate that the seismogenic zone is locked, and historical earthquake activity, which indicates that giant tsunamigenic earthquakes have occurred there in the past. These are all consistent with active subduction in the Myanmar subduction zone and I suggest that the seismogenic zone extends beneath the Bengal Fan. I conclude therefore that giant earthquakes probably occur off the coast of Myanmar, and that a large and vulnerable population is thereby exposed to a significant earthquake and tsunami hazard.

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PMID:
17805292
DOI:
10.1038/nature06088
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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