Seismicity, Lithospheric Structure and Mantle Deformation in the Andaman Nicobar Subduction Zone

  • G. Srijayanthi
  • M. Ravi KumarEmail author
Part of the Society of Earth Scientists Series book series (SESS)


In this paper, we synthesize the seismicity, seismic structure and deformation of the hitherto less investigated Andaman–Nicobar subduction zone (ANSZ) utilizing results obtained from new data accrued from a broadband seismological network. Parameterization of the subsurface through joint inversion for source mechanisms and velocity structure indicates a Moho at 30 km depth. Hypocenters of local earthquakes located using this model reveal a N-S trend to the east of the trench. The northern part of the archipelago is seismically very active compared to the middle and southern parts. Interestingly, high attenuation is also observed in the northern Andaman. Further, the attenuation characteristics of ANSZ, akin to those in the eastern Himalaya and southern Tibet, reveal an active role of intrinsic attenuation attributed to the presence of fluids associated with subduction. Collation of results from various seismological studies indicates that the geometry of the subducting Indian plate controls the rupture characteristics of major earthquakes and deformation pattern along the arc. Seismic images constructed using Receiver functions reveal variations in the crustal and lithospheric thickness along the ANSZ and tearing in the subducting Indian plate between 7° N and 8° N latitude. Clustering of earthquake swarms, their magmatic affinity and shear wave anisotropy in the mantle wedge seem to be governed by this tear. Also, the subslab anisotropy is controlled by the dip of the subducting plate, as evidenced by trench-parallel and perpendicular fast axis azimuths in steeper (>40°) and shallower segments, respectively. This observation is consistent along the whole Andaman–Sumatra–Java arc.


Andaman subduction zone Seismicity and attenuation Receiver functions Slab tear Shear wave splitting Trench parallel anisotropy 



The Andaman experiment was supported by INCOIS, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. All the figures in this paper are prepared using GMT (Generic Mapping Tools), an invaluable software system from Wessel and Smith (1998). We thank Prof. M. Radhakrishna, for inviting us to write this review article.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Seismological ResearchRaisan, GandhinagarIndia
  2. 2.CSIR-National Geophysical Research InstituteHyderabadIndia

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