Transient postseismic mantle relaxation following 2004 Sumatra earthquake: implications of seismic vulnerability in the Andaman-Nicobar region
Throughout the world, the tsunami generation potential of some large under-sea earthquakes significantly contributes to regional seismic hazard, which gives rise to significant risk in the near-shore provinces where human settlements are in sizeable population, often referred to as coastal seismic risk. In this context, we show from the pertinent GPS data that the transient stresses generated by the viscoelastic relaxation process taking place in the mantle is capable of rupturing major faults by stress transfer from the mantle through the lower crust including triggering additional rupture on the other major faults. We also infer that postseismic relaxation at relatively large depths can push some of the fault segments to reactivation causing failure sequences. As an illustration to these effects, we consider in detail the earthquake sequence comprising six events, starting from the main event of Mw = 7.5, on 10 August 2009 and tapering off to a small earthquake of Mw = 4.5 on 2 February 2011 over a period of eighteen months in the intensely seismic Andaman Islands between India and Myanmar. The persisting transient stresses, spatio-temporal seismic pattern, modeled Coulomb stress changes, and the southward migration of earthquake activity has increased the probability of moderate earthquakes recurring in the northern Andaman region, particularly closer to or somewhat south of Diglipur.