Burma Plate

The Burma Plate is a minor tectonic plate or microplate located in Southeast Asia, sometimes considered a part of the larger Eurasian Plate. The Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, and northwestern Sumatra are located on the plate. This island arc separates the Andaman Sea from the main Indian Ocean to the west.

To its east lies the Sunda Plate, from which it is separated along a transform boundary, running in a rough north-south line through the Andaman Sea. This boundary between the Burma and Sunda plates is a marginal seafloor spreading centre, which has led to the opening up of the Andaman Sea (from a southerly direction) by "pushing out" the Andaman-Nicobar-Sumatra island arc from mainland Asia, a process which began in earnest approximately 4 million years ago.

To the west is the much larger India Plate, which is subducting beneath the western facet of the Burma Plate. This extensive subduction zone has formed the Sunda Trench.

Burma Plate
The Burma Plate
Approximate area1,100,000 km2[1]
Speed146 mm/year
FeaturesAndaman Sea
1Relative to the African Plate
Neic slav fig72narrow
The Burma Plate, showing boundaries with the India Plate (the Sunda Trench) and the Sunda Plate (through the Andaman Sea)

Tectonic history

In models of the reconstructed tectonic history of the area, the generally northwards movement of the Indo-Australian Plate resulted in its substantive collision with the Eurasian continent, which began during the Eocene epoch, approximately 50–55 million years ago (Ma). This collision with Asia began the orogenic uplift which has formed the Himalaya mountains, as well as the fracturing of the Indo-Australian plate into the modern Indian Plate, Australian Plate, and possibly Capricorn Plate.[2]

As the India Plate drifted northwards at a relatively rapid rate of an average 16 cm/yr, it also rotated in a counterclockwise direction. As a result of this movement and rotation, the convergence along the plate's eastern boundary (the Burma-Andaman-Malay region) with Eurasia was at an oblique angle.

The transform forces along this subduction front started the clockwise bending of the Sunda arc; in the late Oligocene (ca. 32 Ma) further faulting developed and the Burma and Sunda microplates began to "break off" from the larger Eurasian Plate.

After a further series of transform faulting, and the continuing subduction of the India Plate beneath the Burma Plate, backarc spreading saw the formation of the marginal basin and seafloor spreading centre which would become the Andaman Sea, a process well-underway by the mid-Pliocene (3–4 Ma).

Tectonics Sumatra quake
Western Sunda Arc and Trench showing tectonic and seismic activity.

Recent tectonic activity

On December 26, 2004, a large portion of the boundary between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate slipped, causing the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.[3] This megathrust earthquake had an estimated moment magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw.[4] Over 1600 km of the boundary underwent thrust faulting and shifted up to 5 meters vertically and 11 meters horizontally.[4] This rapid rise in the sea floor over such a short time (seven minutes[4]) generated a massive tsunami that killed approximately 229,800 people along the coast of the Indian Ocean.


  1. ^ "Sizes of Tectonic or Lithospheric Plates". Geology.about.com. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  2. ^ Gordon, Richard G. (2009-03-01). "Lithospheric Deformation in the equatorial Indian Ocean: Timing and Tibet". Geology. 37 (3): 287–288. doi:10.1130/focus032009.1. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
  3. ^ "Thirty-eight Indian cities in high-risk earthquake zones".
  4. ^ a b c Strand, Carl; John Masek (2008). Sumatra-Andaman Islands earthquake and tsunami of December 26, 2004 : lifeline performance. Reston, Va.: American Society of Civil Engineers. ISBN 9780784409510.

Further reading

1881 Nicobar Islands earthquake

The 1881 Nicobar Islands earthquake occurred at about 07:49 local time (01:49 UTC) on 31 December, with an epicentre beneath Car Nicobar. It occurred as two separate ruptures, the largest of which had an estimated magnitude of 7.9 on the moment magnitude scale and triggered a tsunami that was observed around the Bay of Bengal. It is probably the earliest earthquake for which rupture parameters have been estimated instrumentally.

1975 Bagan earthquake

The 1975 Bagan earthquake occurred on July 8 at 6:34 pm local time (12:04 UTC) in Bagan, Myanmar. Many important stupas and temples were destroyed. The strongest intensity was felt in the towns of Nyaung-U, Pakokku, and Yesagyo, and in the Myaing townships on the confluence of the Ayeyawady River. Damages were also reported in Chauk and Natmauk townships. It had a magnitude of Mw 7.0.

Art historians rank the archeological treasures of Bagan (formerly called Pagan) with the renowned temple complex at Angkor Wat or with the European artworks of Venice and Florence. The earthquake "irreparably damaged many of the great temples of Bagan, an artistic landmark of Asia and the center of the Burmese national culture." Burma's Director General of Archeology said the earthquake the worst in the last 900 years of recorded history.The source of the earthquake is still controversial because of uncertainties in the depth information ranging from 84 to 157 km. Subduction and collision of the India Plate and the Burma Plate is ongoing and this earthquake was on the interface of these two plates.

2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami (also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami) occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December, with an epicentre off the west coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. It was an undersea megathrust earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.1–9.3 Mw, reaching a Mercalli intensity up to IX in certain areas. The earthquake was caused by a rupture along the fault between the Burma Plate and the Indian Plate.

A series of large tsunami waves up to 30 metres (100 ft) high were created by the underwater seismic activity. Communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean were seriously affected, and the tsunamis killed an estimated 227,898 people in 14 countries. The Indonesian city of Banda Aceh reported the largest number of victims. The earthquake was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. The direct results caused major disruptions to living conditions and commerce, particularly in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.

The earthquake was the third largest ever recorded and had the longest duration of faulting ever observed; between eight and ten minutes. It caused the planet to vibrate as much as 10 millimetres (0.4 inches), and it remotely triggered earthquakes as far away as Alaska. Its epicentre was between Simeulue and mainland Sumatra. The plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response, with donations totaling more than US$14 billion. The event is known by the scientific community as the Sumatra–Andaman earthquake.

Andaman Sea

The Andaman Sea (historically also known as the Burma Sea) is a marginal sea of the eastern Indian Ocean separated from the Bay of Bengal (to its west) by the Andaman Islands of India and Myanmar and the Nicobar Islands of India and touching Myanmar, Thailand, and the Malay Peninsula. Its southernmost end is defined by Breueh Island, an island just north of Sumatra.

Traditionally, the sea has been used for fishery and transportation of goods between the coastal countries and its coral reefs and islands are popular tourist destinations. The fishery and tourist infrastructure was severely damaged by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Bay of Bengal

The Bay of Bengal is the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean, bounded on the west and northwest by India, on the north by Bangladesh, and on the east by Myanmar and the Andaman Islands of India and Myanmar and the Nicobar Islands of India. Its southern limit is a line between Sri Lanka and the north western most point of Sumatra (Indonesia). It is the largest water region called a bay in the world. There are countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

The Bay of Bengal occupies an area of 2,172,000 square kilometres (839,000 sq mi). A number of large rivers flow into the Bay of Bengal: the Ganges–Hooghly, the Padma, the Brahmaputra–Jamuna, the Barak–Surma–Meghna, the Irrawaddy, the Godavari, the Mahanadi, the Brahmani, the Baitarani, the Krishna and the Kaveri. Among the important ports are Chennai-Ennore, Chittagong, Colombo, Kolkata-Haldia, Mongla, Paradip, Port Blair, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam and Dhamra. Among the smaller ports are Gopalpur Port, Kakinada and Payra.

Burma (disambiguation)

Burma, now known as Myanmar, is a country in Southeast Asia.

Burma may also refer to:

Burma (film), a 2014 Indian film

Burma Plate, a minor tectonic plate

Burma, Guyana, a village in Guyana

Burma Valley, Zimbabwe

Burma Camp, the headquarters of the Ghana Armed Forces

Burma campaign, series of battles in World War II

B.U.R.M.A., a World War II postal acronym

Cotabato Trench

The Cotabato Trench is an oceanic trench in the Pacific Ocean, off the southwestern coast of Mindanao in the Philippines. Along this trench the oceanic crust of the Sunda Plate beneath the Celebes Sea is being subducted beneath the Philippines Mobile Belt. It forms part of a linked

set of trenches along the western side of the Philippines formed over east-dipping subduction zones, including the Manila Trench and the Negros Trench. At its northern end the rate of convergence across this boundary is about 100 mm per year. It is a relatively young structure, forming during the late Miocene to Pliocene. This age is consistent with the estimated age of the sedimentary rocks in the accretionary wedge associated with the trench and the age of adakitic arc rocks on Mindanao thought to date the onset of subduction.

Ganges Delta

The Ganges Delta (also known as the Sundarbans Delta or the Bengal Delta) is a river delta in the Bengal region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of Bangladesh and the Indian state of West Bengal. It is the world's largest delta and empties into the Bay of Bengal the combined waters of several river systems, mainly those of the Brahmaputra river and the Ganges river. It is also one of the most fertile regions in the world, thus earning the nickname the Green Delta. The delta stretches from the Hooghly River east as far as the Meghna River.

Geology of Myanmar

The geology of Myanmar is shaped by dramatic, ongoing tectonic processes controlled by shifting tectonic components as the Indian plate slides northwards and towards Southeast Asia. Myanmar spans across parts of three tectonic plates (the Indian Plate, Burma microplate and Shan Thai Block) separated by north-trending faults. To the west, a highly oblique subduction zone separates the offshore Indian plate from the Burma microplate, which underlies most of the country. In the center-east of Myanmar, a right lateral strike slip fault extends from south to north across more than 1,000 km (620 mi). These tectonic zones are responsible for large earthquakes in the region. The India-Eurasia plate collision which initiated in the Eocene provides the last geological pieces of Myanmar, and thus Myanmar preserves a more extensive Cenozoic geological record as compared to records of the Mesozoic and Paleozoic eras. Myanmar is physiographically divided into three regions: the Indo-Burman Range, Myanmar Central Belt and the Shan Plateau; these all display an arcuate shape bulging westwards. The varying regional tectonic settings of Myanmar not only give rise to disparate regional features, but they also foster the formation of petroleum basins and a diverse mix of mineral resources.

Impatiens psittacina

Impatiens psittacina, known variously as the "parrot flower" or "parrot balsam" is a species of balsam from Southeast Asia that was described by the botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker and was noted for its flower that resemble a "flying cockatoo". It is known from Thailand, Burma and parts of India.

List of tectonic plates

This is a list of tectonic plates on the Earth's surface. Tectonic plates are pieces of Earth's crust and uppermost mantle, together referred to as the lithosphere. The plates are around 100 km (62 mi) thick and consist of two principal types of material: oceanic crust (also called sima from silicon and magnesium) and continental crust (sial from silicon and aluminium). The composition of the two types of crust differs markedly, with mafic basaltic rocks dominating oceanic crust, while continental crust consists principally of lower-density felsic granitic rocks.

Manila Trench

The Manila Trench is an oceanic trench in the Pacific Ocean, located west of the islands of Luzon and Mindoro in the Philippines. The trench reaches a depth of about 5,400 metres (17,700 ft), in contrast with the average depth of the South China Sea of about 1,500 metres (4,900 ft). It is created by subduction, in which the Sunda Plate (part of Eurasian Plate) is subducting under the Philippine Mobile Belt, producing this almost N-S trending trench. The convergent boundary is terminated to the north by the Taiwan collision zone, and to the south by the Mindoro terrane (Sulu-Palawan block colliding with SW Luzon). It is an area pervaded by negative gravity anomalies.The Manila Trench is associated with frequent earthquakes, and the subduction zone is responsible for the belt of volcanoes on the west side of the Philippine island of Luzon, which includes Mount Pinatubo.

Convergence between the Philippine Mobile Belt and the Sunda Plate have been estimated using GPS measurements, and this value ranges from ~ 50+ mm/yr in Taiwan, to 100 mm/yr near N. Luzon, and ~ 50 mm/yr near Zambales and ~20+mm/yr near Mindoro island. Plate locking between the Sunda Plate and Luzon is about 1% coupled, almost unlocked as determined by elastic block models, suggesting that the trench absorbs the Philippine Mobile Belt-Eurasian Plate convergence.

Marikina Valley Fault System

The Marikina Valley Fault System, also known as the Valley Fault System (VFS), is a dominantly dextral strike-slip fault system in Luzon, Philippines. It extends from Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan in the north and runs through the provinces of Rizal, and the Metro Manila cities of Quezon, Marikina, Pasig, Makati, Taguig and Muntinlupa, and the provinces of Cavite and Laguna that ends in Canlubang.

Megathrust earthquake

Megathrust earthquakes occur at subduction zones at destructive convergent plate boundaries, where one tectonic plate is forced underneath another, caused by slip along the thrust fault that forms the contact between them. These interplate earthquakes are the planet's most powerful, with moment magnitudes (Mw) that can exceed 9.0. Since 1900, all earthquakes of magnitude 9.0 or greater have been megathrust earthquakes. No other type of known terrestrial source of tectonic activity has produced earthquakes of this scale.

Northeast India

Northeast India (officially North Eastern Region, NER) is the easternmost region of India representing both a geographic and political administrative division of the country. It comprises eight states – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. The Siliguri Corridor in West Bengal, with a width of 21 to 40 kilometres (13 to 25 mi), connects the North Eastern Region with East India. The region shares an international border of 5,182 kilometres (3,220 mi) (about 99 percent of its total geographical boundary) with several neighbouring countries – 1,395 kilometres (867 mi) with Tibet Autonomous Region, China in the north, 1,640 kilometres (1,020 mi) with Myanmar in the east, 1,596 kilometres (992 mi) with Bangladesh in the south-west, 97 kilometres (60 mi) with Nepal in the west, and 455 kilometres (283 mi) with Bhutan in the north-west. It comprises an area of 262,230 square kilometres (101,250 sq mi), almost 8 percent of that of India, and is one of the largest salients (panhandles) in the world.

The states of North Eastern Region are officially recognised under the North Eastern Council (NEC), constituted in 1971 as the acting agency for the development of the north eastern states. Long after induction of NEC, Sikkim formed part of the North Eastern Region as the eighth state in 2002. India's Look-East connectivity projects connect Northeast India to China and ASEAN.

Seismicity of the Sumatra coast

Seismicity of the Sumatran coast identifies and describes the seismic activity of an area of western Indonesia near the island of Sumatra. Seismicity refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time. The Sumatran coast is in the subduction zone where the Indian plate meets the Burma plate beneath the Andaman Sea, forming the northern part of the Sunda trench. The shallow seismicity is characteristically distributed across a wide area of plate movement. The Sunda trench is also closely related to the Sumatran Fault, a transform fault running the entire length of the island.

Sunda Arc

The Sunda Arc is a volcanic arc that produced the islands of Sumatra and Java, the Sunda Strait and the Lesser Sunda Islands. A chain of volcanoes forms the topographic spine of these islands.

The Sunda Arc marks an active convergent boundary between the East Eurasian plates that underlie Indonesia, especially the Sunda Plate and the Burma Plate, with the India and Australian Plates that form the seabed of the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The Sunda Arc is a classic example of a volcanic island arc, in which all the elements of such geodynamic features can be identified.

The India and Australian Plates are subducting beneath the Sunda and Burma plates along the Sunda Arc. The tectonic deformation along this subduction zone in the Java Trench (also known as the Sunda Trench) caused the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake of 26 December, 2004.

Sunda Plate

The Sunda Plate is a minor tectonic plate straddling the equator in the eastern hemisphere on which the majority of Southeast Asia is located.The Sunda Plate was formerly considered a part of the Eurasian Plate, but GPS measurements have confirmed its independent movement at 10 mm/yr eastward relative to Eurasia.

Weh Island

Weh Island (Indonesian:Pulau Weh), often known as Sabang after the largest city, is a small active volcanic island to the northwest of Sumatra, 45 minutes by fast regular ship or 2 hours by ferry from mainland, Banda Aceh. It was originally connected to the Sumatran mainland and became separated by sea after the volcano's last eruption in the Pleistocene era. The island is situated in the Andaman Sea. The largest city on the island, Sabang, is the northernmost outpost of Indonesia.

The island is known for its ecosystem; the Indonesian government has declared 60 square kilometres (23 sq mi) of inland and sea around the island as a wildlife protection area. A rare megamouth shark species was found on shore and the island is the only habitat for the threatened toad, Duttaphrynus valhallae (formerly Bufo valhallae). Coral reef areas around the island are known for their large variety of fish species.

Tectonic plates of Southeast Asia–New Guinea (Australian Plate-Pacific Plate Convergence Zone)
and troughs
Subsea plateaus
and basins
Plate tectonics
Faults and rift zones


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