Neotectonics of Java, Indonesia: crustal deformation in the overriding plate of an orthogonal subduction system
Shallow earthquakes in the upper part of the overriding plate of subduction zones can be devastating due to their proximity to population centers despite the smaller rupture extents than commonly occur on subduction megathrusts that produce the largest earthquakes. Damaging effects can be greater in volcanic arcs like Java because ground shaking is amplified by surficial deposits of uncompacted volcaniclastic sediments. Identifying the upper-plate structures and their potential hazards is key for minimizing the dangers they pose. In particular, the knowledge of the regional stress field and deformation pattern in this region will help us to better understand how subduction and collision affects deformation in this part of the overriding plate. The majority of the upper plate deformation studies have been focused on the deformation in the main thrusts of the fore-arc region. Study of deformation within volcanic arc is limited despite the associated earthquake hazards. In this study, I use maps of active upper-plate structures, earthquake moment tensor data and stress orientation deduced from volcano morphology analysis to characterize the strain field of Java arc. In addition, I use sandbox analog modeling to evaluate the mechanical factors that may be important in controlling deformation. My field- and remotely-based mapping of active faults and folds, supplemented by results from my paleoseismic studies and physical models of the system, suggest that Java’s deformation is distributed over broad areas along small-scale structures. Java is segmented into three main zones based on their distinctive structural patterns and stress orientation. East Java is characterized by NW-SE normal and strike-slip faults, Central Java has E-W folds and thrust faults, and NE-SW strike-slip faults dominate West Java. The sandbox analog models indicate that the strain in response to collision is partitioned into thrusting and strike-slip faulting, with the dominance of margin-normal thrust faulting. My models test the effects of convergence obliquity, geometry, preexisting weaknesses, asperities, and lateral strength contrast. The result suggest that slight variations in convergence obliquity do not affect the deformation pattern significantly, while the margin shape, lateral strength contrast, and perturbation of deformation from asperities each have a greater impact on deformation.