Ransiki earthquakes, northeastern Bird's Head Peninsula, northwestern New Guinea, Indonesia: Deformation partitioning in oblique plate convergence
Journal of Geodynamics
The plate boundary between the Pacific-Caroline and Australian plates in northwestern New Guinea is associated with a geographic concentration of earthquakes developed in the Ransiki region of the northeastern Bird's Head Peninsula (West Papua, northwestern New Guinea) at the intersection of the Ransiki and Yapen faults. We examine these earthquakes based on regional geomorphological and lithostratigraphical frameworks, field observations of surface ruptures and liquefaction phenomena, and focal mechanisms of historical earthquakes. The Ransiki earthquakes are a set of 29 earthquakes from the Global Centroid Moment Tensor catalogue in the period 1977–2019 (magnitudes of Mw4.9 to Mw7.5). In the east, focal mechanisms show sinistral movement along the east-west trending Yapen Fault including the Mw6.7 earthquake on 21 April 2012. The largest earthquake was on 10 October 2002 (Mw7.5) and along with other earthquakes mainly in the southwest were associated with dextral movement indicated by focal mechanism solutions on the northwest trending Ransiki Fault south of its intersection with the Yapen Fault. The southern part of the Ransiki Fault therefore indicates local north-northeast compression that is also evident in the newly recognised Wainoei Fault south of Yapen Island. The two largest earthquakes (10 October 2002, 21 April 2012) show ground effects associated with liquefaction, indicated by surface offsets, open fissures, and sand blows, that all occurred in saturated sediments of the Ransiki delta. Earthquakes in the Ransiki region show that west-southwest oblique plate convergence between the Australian and Pacific-Caroline plates is partitioned into east-west sinistral strike-slip motion along the Yapen Fault and north-northeast compression associated with the Ransiki Fault.
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