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EOS scientists embark on expedition to study earthquake tsunamis

20 May 2015

A scientific expedition, Mentawai Gap—Tsunami Earthquake Risk Assessment (MEGA-TERA), will be co-led by EOS Professor Paul Tapponnier, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Professor Satish Singh, and Dr. Nugroho Hananto, from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

This cruise aims to investigate the risk of tsunamis caused by earthquakes. The scientists plan to study the region off Sibeirut Island, off west Sumatra. This region, identified as the Mentawai Gap, is the only area in the highly seismic Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone that has not produced a large earthquake in the past 200 years. In an interview with The Straits Times, Prof. Tapponnier said, “We know the plates in the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone move towards each other at about 4 cm a year, which results in earthquakes roughly every 250 years. If we have better knowledge of the ocean floor and understand the mechanisms that cause tsunamis, we can help people to better prepare for the eventualities.”

The expedition will take place onboard Schmidt Ocean Institute’s research vessel Falkor. The vessel is fitted with laboratories and high-tech scientific systems required in this marine geophysics expedition. Schmidt Ocean Institute supports oceanographic research and technology development at sea by providing scientists with access to the research vessel Falkor through an open-call for research proposals every December. The MEGA-TERA expedition was a successful project that has gone through non-conflicted expert review.

R/V Falkor Photo credit: SOI

Read more news coverage from The Straits Times, Channel News Asia, Asiaone, and Big News Network.

Our press release on the MEGA-TERA expedition can be found here.

For updates on the expedition, read the MEGA-TERA cruise log here or here.

Thumbnail image credit: SOI