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Strike and Slip earthquakes

30 September 2012

Two major strike and slip earthquakes struck off the coast of Sumatra in April (2012) – see www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/6015/record-breaking-earthquakes-push-new-bo… … and they are thought to have triggered a succession of earthquakes in various other spots around the world. The consensus view, that strike and slip earthquakes only occur at plate boundaries, has been modified. It is now being said a new plate boundary is in the process of being made, and the Indo-Australian plate is starting to separate. Three papers in Nature are the result of an analysis and it is being suggested the Australian part of the plate is being pushed northwards but the Indian section of the plate cannot do so as it has hit the brick wall of the Himalayas. Hence, the otherwise robust plate is tearing itself apart and one section has moved horizontally against the other bit – or that is what is decided as the explanation – but influences outside mainstream plate tectonics were not part of the debate.

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