Friday 12 February 2016

Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake beneath Palau Sumba, Indonesia.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake at a depth of 28 km beneath the island of Palau Sumba, in the southern Lesser Sunda Islands, slightly after 6.00  pm local time (slightly after 10.00 am GMT) on Friday 12 February 2016. There are no reports of any damage or casualties arising from this event, though people have reported feeling it as far away as Bali.
 The approximate location of the 12 February 2016 Palau Sumba Earthquake. Google Maps.

The Lesser Sunda Islands are located on the northern part of the Timor Microplate. This is trapped between the converging Eurasian and Australian Plates, both of which are being subducted beneath it. This is not a smooth process; the two subducting plates continuously stick to the overlying plate, then break away as the pressure builds up, causing Earthquakes in the process. In the south the Australian Plate is passing under the islands, with material from the subducted plate melted by the friction and the heat of the Earth's interior rising through the Timor Plate to feed the volcanoes of the islands. In the north the Eurasian Plate is being subducted in the same way, feeding the volcanoes there.
 The subduction zones beneath the Timor Microplate. Hamson (2004).
Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organization Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.
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