A decade of GPS in Southeast Asia: Resolving Sundaland motion and boundaries

W Simons, A Socquet, Christophe Vigny, Boudewijn Ambrosius, Samad Abu, Chaiwat Promthong, Cecep Subarya, D Sarsito, S Matheussen, Peter Morgan, W Spakman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

380 Citations (Scopus)


A unique GPS velocity field that spans the entire Southeast Asia region is presented. It is based on 10 years (1994-2004) of GPS data at more than 100 sites in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The majority of the horizontal velocity vectors have a demonstrated global accuracy of ∼1 mm/yr (at 95% confidence level). The results have been used to (better) characterize the Sundaland block boundaries and to derive a new geokinematic model for the region. The rotation pole of the undeformed core of the Sundaland block is located at 49.0°N-94.2°E, with a clockwise rotation rate of 0.34°/Myr. With respect to both geodetically and geophysically defined Eurasia plate models, Sundaland moves eastward at a velocity of 6 ± 1 to 10 ± 1 mm/yr from south to north, respectively. Contrary to previous studies, Sundaland is shown to move independently with respect to South China, the eastern part of Java, the island of Sulawesi, and the northern tip of Borneo. The Red River fault in South China and Vietnam is still active and accommodates a strike-slip motion of ∼2 mm/yr. Although Sundaland internal deformation is general very small (less than 7 nanostrain/yr), important accumulation of elastic deformation occurs along its boundaries with fast-moving neighboring plates. In particular in northern Sumatra and Malaysia, inland-pointing trench-perpendicular residual velocities were detected prior to the megathrust earthquake of 26 December 2004. Earlier studies in Sumatra already showed this but underestimated the extent of the deformation zone, which reaches more than 600 km away from the trench. This study shows that only a regional Southeast Asia network spanning thousands of kilometers can provide a reference frame solid enough to analyze intraplate and interplate deformation in detail. Copyright 2007 by the American Geophysical Union
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research B : Solid Earth
Issue numberB6
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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