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The discovery of a conjugate system of faults in the Wharton Basin intraplate deformation zone

Singh, Satish C.; Hananto, Nugroho; Qin, Yanfang; Leclerc, Frederique; Avianto, Praditya; Tapponnier, Paul E.; Carton, Helene D.; We, Shengji; Nugroho, Adam B.; Gemilang, Wishnu A.; Sieh, Kerry; Barbot, Sylvain

The deformation at well-defined, narrow plate boundaries depends on the relative plate motion, but how the deformation takes place within a distributed plate boundary zone remains a conundrum. This was confirmed by the seismological analyses of the 2012 great Wharton Basin earthquakes [moment magnitude (Mw) 8.6], which suggested the rupture of several faults at high angles to one another. Using high-resolution bathymetry and seismic reflection data, we report the discovery of new N294°E-striking shear zones, oblique to the plate fabric. These shear zones are expressed by sets of normal faults striking at N335°E, defining the direction of the principal compressional stress in the region. Also, we have imaged left-lateral strike-slip faults along reactivated N7°E-oriented oceanic fracture zones. The shear zones and the reactivated fracture zones form a conjugate system of faults, which accommodate present-day intraplate deformation in the Wharton Basin.


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Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Published Here
January 25, 2017