Solomon Islands Regional Tectonics


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Solomon Islands Regional Tectonics

The Solomon and Vanuatu Islands occupy the center of a region that is marked by a complicated arrangement of tectonic micro plates crushed between the greater Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates. It is a seismically active area of frequent large earthquakes. The Australian continent is moving northeast at a rate of ~6 cm/year with variation along the boundaries up to 13 cm/year. In the region of the Solomon and Vanuatu islands, the earthquakes are caused by the northeasterly movement of the Indo-Australian Plate as it dives beneath the Pacific Plate. We look more closely at three areas in cross section to reveal a change from steeply dipping subduction along the New Hebrides trench, to a short segment of strike slip motion along the Solomon Islands, and to a shallow subduction zone to the west. Again, all reflect the convergence of the Indo-Australian with the Pacific Plate.

 mp4 (10.4 MB)


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