Friday 14 May 2021

Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake to the east of Mauritius.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.7 Earthquake at a depth of 10.0 km, beneath the Indian Ocean roughly 412 km to the east of Mauritius, at about 6.05 pm local time (about 2.05 pm GMT) on Wednesday 12 May 2021 local time. There are no reports of any injuries associated with this event, and nor would they be expected from an event this far from shore, but people have reported feeling the Earthquake in Mauritius.

The location of the 12 May 2021 Indian Ocean Earthquake. USGS.

The event occurred on the Central Indian Ocean Ridge, a chain of (mostly) submerged volcanoes running the length of the Indian Ocean from north to south,  along which the ocean is splitting apart, with new material forming at the fringes of the African and Indian Plates beneath the sea. The Indian Ocean is spreading at an average rate of 30 mm per year, with new seafloor being produced along the rift volcanically, i.e. by basaltic magma erupting from below. The ridge itself takes the form of a chain of volcanic mountains running the length of the ocean, fed by the upwelling of magma beneath the diverging plates. All of this results in considerable Earth-movement beneath the ocean, where Earthquakes are a frequent event.

Location of Central Indian Ridge. (CIR, Central Indian Ridge; SWIR, Southwest Indian Ridge; SEIR, Southeast Indian Ridge; RTJ, Rodriguez Triple Junction; R.Is, Reunion Island; CR, Carlsberg Ridge; LR, Laxmi Ridge; OFZ, Owen Fracture Zone; MR, Murray Ridge; MZR, Mozambique Ridge; SMP, Seychelles–Mascarene Plateau Complex; RS, Red Sea; GA, Gulf of Aden; PG, Persian Gulf; GO, Gulf of Oman). Majumdar, Bhattacharyya, & Chatterjee (2006).

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