Role of crustal heterogeneity beneath Andaman-Nicobar Islands and its implications for coastal hazard

O. P. Mishra, D. Zhao, Chandan Ghosh, Z. Wang, O. P. Singh, Biman Ghosh, K. K. Mukherjee, D. K. Saha, G. K. Chakrabortty, S. G. Gaonkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


The Andaman-Nicobar (A-N) Islands region has attracted many geo-scientists because of its unique location and complex geotectonic settings. The recent occurrence of tsunamis due to the megathrust tsunamigenic north Sumatra earthquake (Mw 9.3) with a series of aftershocks in the A-N region caused severe damage to the coastal regions of India and Indonesia. Several pieces of evidence suggest that the occurrence of earthquakes in the A-N region is related to its complex geodynamical processes. In this study, it has been inferred that deep-seated structural heterogeneities related to dehydration of the subducting Indian plate beneath the Island could have induced the process of brittle failure through crustal weakening to contribute immensely to the coastal hazard in the region. The present study based on 3-D P-wave tomography of the entire rupture zone of the A-N region using the aftershocks of the 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake (Mw 9.3) clearly demonstrates the role of crustal heterogeneity in seismogenesis and in causing the strong shakings and tsunamis. The nature and extent of the imaged crustal heterogeneity beneath the A-N region may have facilitated the degree of damage and extent of coastal hazards in the region. The 3-D velocity heterogeneities reflect asperities that manifest what type of seismogenic layers exist beneath the region to dictate the size of earthquakes and thereby they help to assess the extent of earthquake vulnerability in the coastal regions. The inference of this study may be used as one of the potential inputs for assessment of seismic vulnerability to the region, which may be considered for evolving earthquake hazard mitigation model for the coastal areas of the Andaman-Nicobar Islands region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-64
Number of pages14
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr


  • Andaman-Nicobar Islands
  • Coastal hazard
  • Crustal heterogeneity
  • Seismic imaging
  • Tsunamis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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