Environment Geologists find biggest exposed fault on earth

Geologists find biggest exposed fault on earth

Scientists have for the first time seen and documented the Banda Detachment fault in eastern Indonesia and worked out how it formed.

The find will help researchers assess the dangers of future tsunamis in the area, which is part of the Ring of Fire – an area around the Pacific Ocean basin known for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

“The abyss has been known for 90 years but until now no one has been able to explain how it got so deep,” said lead researcher Dr Jonathan Pownall from The Australian National University (ANU).

“Our research found that a 7 km-deep abyss beneath the Banda Sea off eastern Indonesia was formed by slabs shearing along what might be earth’s largest identified exposed fault plane.”

Dr Pownall said this fault, the Banda Detachment, represents a rip in the ocean floor exposed over 60,000 square kilometres.

“In a region of extreme tsunami risk, knowledge of major faults such as the Banda Detachment, which could make big earthquakes when they slip, is fundamental to being able to properly assess tectonic hazards,” he said.

Read the story of this discovery here. Story credit: ANU newsroom.

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