Quake was twice as strong, but much slower than thought
Color figure showing the measured earthquake motions from GPS stations around South and Southeast Asia. The arrows indicate the magnitude of the measured offsets, up to an inch (25 mm) in southernmost India, though less than a centimeter for most of the stations. The red arrow that goes off the map represents a 14 centimeter displacement to the west on the island of Northern Sumatra. The blue lines are plate boundaries; the red dots along the boundary between the India and Burma plates are aftershocks of the Dec. 26 quake. Credit: Roland Burgmann/UC Berkeley
The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake that generated a deadly tsunami on Dec. 26 was stronger and slower than most seismologists thought, according to scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in India and the United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.).
Using data from global positioning system (GPS) stations around the Pacific and Indian oceans, including previously unavailable records from India, the team modeled the fault motions that would produce the observed static ground movements. They concluded that the quake was probably twice as strong as originally estimated - a magnitude 9.15 instead of 9.0 - and that much of the slippage along the fault probably took place more than half an hour after the initial quake and continued as long as three hours afterward.
Robert Sanders | EurekAlert!
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