Aftershocks of the 2012 Off-Coast of Sumatra Earthquake Sequence

Chengping Chai, Charles J. Ammon, K. Michael Cleveland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Aftershocks of the 2012 Off-Coast of Sumatra Earthquake Sequence exhibit a complex and diffuse spatial distribution. The first-order complexity in aftershock distribution is clear and well beyond the influence of typical earthquake location uncertainty. The sequence included rupture of multiple fault segments, spatially separated. We use surface-wave based relative centroid locations to examine whether, at the small scale, the distribution of the aftershocks was influenced by location errors. Surface-wave based relative location has delineated precise oceanic transform fault earthquake locations in multiple regions. However, the relocated aftershocks off the coast of Sumatra seldom align along simple linear trends that are compatible with the corresponding fault strikes as estimated for the GCMT catalog. The relocation of roughly 60 moderate-earthquake epicentroids suggests that the faulting involved in the 2012 earthquake aftershock sequence included strain release along many short fault segments. Statistical analysis and temporal variations of aftershocks show a typical decay of the aftershocks but a relatively low number of aftershocks, as is common for intraplate oceanic earthquakes. Coulomb stress calculations indicate that most of the moderate-magnitude aftershocks are compatible with stress changes predicted by the large-event slip models. The patterns in the aftershocks suggest that the formation of the boundary and eventual localization of deformation between the Indian and Australian plate is a complicated process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-72
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Jul 20 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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