The kinematics of crustal deformation in Java from GPS observations: Implications for fault slip partitioning

A. Koulali*, S. McClusky, S. Susilo, Y. Leonard, P. Cummins, P. Tregoning, I. Meilano, J. Efendi, A. B. Wijanarto

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    94 Citations (Scopus)


    Our understanding of seismic risk in Java has been focused primarily on the subduction zone, where the seismic records during the last century have shown the occurrence of a number of tsunami earthquakes. However, the potential of the existence of active crustal structures within the island of Java itself is less well known. Historical archives show the occurrence of several devastating earthquake ruptures north of the volcanic arc in west Java during the 18th and the 19th centuries, suggesting the existence of active faults that need to be identified in order to guide seismic hazard assessment. Here we use geodetic constraints from the Global Positioning System (GPS) to quantify the present day crustal deformation in Java. The GPS velocities reveal a homogeneous counterclockwise rotation of the Java Block independent of Sunda Block, consistent with a NE–SW convergence between the Australian Plate and southeast Asia. Continuous GPS observations show a time-dependent change in the linear rate of surface motion in west Java, which we interpret as an ongoing long-term post-seismic deformation following the 2006 Mw 7.7 Java earthquake. We use an elastic block model in combination with a viscoelastic model to correct for this post-seismic transient and derive the long-term inter-seismic velocity, which we interpret as a combination of tectonic block motions and crustal faults strain related deformation. There is a north–south gradient in the resulting velocity field with a decrease in the magnitude towards the North across the Kendeng Thrust in the east and the Baribis Thrust in the west. We suggest that the Baribis Thrust is active and accommodating a slow relative motion between Java and the Sunda Block at about 5±0.2 mm/yr. We propose a kinematic model of convergence of the Australian Plate and the Sunda Block, involving a slip partitioning between the Java Trench and a left-lateral structure extending E–W along Java with most of the convergence being accommodated by the Java megathrust, and a much smaller parallel motion accommodated along the Baribis (∼5±0.2 mm/yr) and Kendeng (∼2.3±0.7 mm/yr) Thrusts. Our study highlights a correlation between the geodetically inferred active faults and historical seismic catalogs, emphasizing the importance of considering crustal fault activity within Java in future seismic assessments.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-79
    Number of pages11
    JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2017


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