Called the Banda Detachment, the tear in the earth’s crust measures around 60,000 square kilometers – roughly the size of a small country such as Costa Rica – and is considered the biggest fault on our planet.
New research has revealed both its size and whereabouts, as it’s located just off the coast of Indonesia and runs through the Pacific The Ring of Fire, an area known for its high volcanic activity.
Although geologists have been aware of the fault for nearly a century, new research done by analyzing high resolution maps of the sea floor of the area around the abyss has revealed just how vast it is and the dangers it poses to humanity.
It’s speculated that if, or rather, when the Banda faults slip, the result would be a tremor so huge that it would have an effect on the entirety of the area encompassed by the Pacific Ring of Fire.
As if The Ring of Fire wasn’t dangerous enough. As it is, around 90 per cent of the world’s tsunamis and 81 per cent of the world’s worst earthquakes occur along the said area.
In case you missed it, two high magnitude earthquakes have occurred on the Ring of Fire just last month.
The first one was a 7.8 earthquake that struck Kaikoura, New Zealand on November 14, killing two. The second struck the Japanese coast of Fukushima back on November 22, resulting into tsunami waves and fatalities.
Just this month, thousands were left homeless after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake hit western Indonesia, killing more than 100.
— GeoNet (@geonet) December 12, 2016
Over 100 dead and more than 700 injured after an earthquake struck Indonesia. pic.twitter.com/44JMW9RD1s
— AJ+ (@ajplus) December 9, 2016
If there’s something positive we can take regarding the new details surrounding the Banda Detachment, it’s that it represents a breakthrough in tsunami predictions.
The new research – and the succeeding ones – should help authorities better prepare and protect citizens living in disaster prone areas.