The position of the earths tectonic plates is key, says Lehigh University seismologist
The location of the recent earthquake that triggered a deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean came as no surprise to geologists, says Anne Meltzer, a world-renowned seismologist at Lehigh University. "Earthquakes like this one happen only once every 50 to 100 years and they happen in very specific locations," says Meltzer, who has supervised two major international seismology research projects in the Himalayas.
The earthquake that struck the Indonesian island of Sumatra on Dec. 26 occurred along a "subduction zone" where the Indian tectonic plate is being subducted, or pulled beneath, the Burma tectonic platelet, says Meltzer. The earths surface is covered by seven to nine major tectonic plates and a number of minor plates, or platelets. The plates – huge slabs of semi-solid rock beneath continents and oceans – vary in size from a few hundred to thousands of kilometers across and in thickness from 15km to 200km.
Kurt Pfitzer | EurekAlert!
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