US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — This was the conclusion of a group of scientists from Singapore, France and Indonesia, having studied tectonic activity in this region, and in particular, in the Western Australian Basin located in the eastern Indian Ocean, also known as the Wharton Basin.
The decay is very fast, but only by geological standards. Parts of the slab diverge by about 1.7 millimeters per year and after just one million years the distance between them will increase by 1.7 kilometers, and the process of separating the slab will complete only in tens of millions of years.
From the point of view of a person, even a specialist, this is a very inconspicuous process, especially since it passes deep under water. And scientists could identify it only by paying attention to two strong earthquakes that occurred in April 2012 in an atypical area – in the middle of the Indo-Australian Plate, in the ocean near Indonesia. These earthquakes, as well as some other signs, confirmed that the plate decays in the Wharton Basin area.
In the fault zone, geologists discovered a chain of 62 two depressions with a total length of about 350 kilometers, and some of them are quite impressive in size – up to three kilometers in width and eight in length.
According to scientists, these depressions began to form more than two million years ago and are located along the line where the epicenters of the 2012 earthquake were located. But due to the fact that the process of plate disintegration is very slow, strong seismic activity can hardly be expected in the next 20 thousand years in this area.
The discovery made was not completely unexpected. According to the authors of the study, the Indo-Australian plate is like a puzzle – it consists of three parts that are interlocked and move together in the same direction.
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