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Tectonics Earthquake Distribution Pattern Analysis Based

Focal Mechanisms (Case Study Sulawesi Island, 1993–2012)

Muh.Fawzy Ismullah M.1,a), Lantu2, Sabrianto Aswad2, Muh.Altin Massinai2
Master Program Geophysical Engineering, Faculty of Mining and Petroleum Engineering (FTTM),
Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Jl. Ganesha no. 10, Bandung, 40116, Jawa Barat, INDONESIA
Geophysics Program Study, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Hasanuddin University
(UNHAS), Jl. PerintisKemerdekaan Km. 10, Makassar, 90245, Sulawesi Selatan, INDONESIA

Abstract.Indonesia is the meeting zone between three world main plates: Eurasian Plate, Pacific Plate, and Indo –
Australia Plate. Therefore, Indonesia has a high seismicity degree. Sulawesi is one of whose high seismicity level. The
earthquake centre lies in fault zone so the earthquake data gives tectonic visualization in a certain place. This research
purpose is to identify Sulawesi tectonic model by using earthquake data from 1993 to 2012. Data used in this research is
the earthquake data which consist of: the origin time, the epicenter coordinate, the depth, the magnitude and the fault
parameter (strike, dip and slip). The result of research shows that there are a lot of active structures as a reason of the
earthquake in Sulawesi. The active structures are Walannae Fault, Lawanopo Fault, Matano Fault, Palu – Koro Fault,
Batui Fault and Moluccas Sea Double Subduction. The focal mechanism also shows that Walannae Fault, Batui Fault and
Moluccas Sea Double Subduction are kind of reverse fault. While Lawanopo Fault, Matano Fault and Palu – Koro Fault
are kind of strike slip fault.
Keywords: earthquake, tectonic, focal mechanism.
PACS: 91.30.Px

The Indonesia’s Archipelago located between two continents, Asian Continent in northwest and Australian
Continent in southeast and also between two oceans, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. Indonesia evaluated from
geodynamics view, in convergent zone between three plates which moving one to the others, that are Eurasian Plate
in north which is relative motionless, Pacific Plate with 7 - 13 cm/ year moving to west, and in southeast and south
is Indies – Australian Plate which moving to north with 6 - 10 cm/ year [1]. Therefore, Indonesia has a high
seismicity degree. Sulawesi is one of whose high seismicity level.
One of high seismicity area in Indonesia is Sulawesi. This is resulted by movement of micro-tectonic plate and
also main plate existed in around Sulawesi Island. The activities gave manifestation of tectonic which affecting
earthquake disaster area. The manifestation of these tectonic setting forming of faults and volcanoes. The faults in
Sulawesi Island are Walannae Fault (South Sulawesi), Palu-Koro Fault (from Palu to Makassar Strait), Gorontalo
Fault, Batui Fault (Middle Sulawesi), Strait of Makassar Reverse Fault, Matano Fault, Lawanopo Fault and Kolaka
Fault (Southeast Sulawesi).
Result from some research known that the centre of earthquake sites in fault zone or in meeting area between
plates. So the earthquake data used to drawing tectonic setting. It can gives visualization about tectonic condition
and movement in certain location. That is the aim of this research, to know Sulawesi tectonic setting based on
earthquake data.

4th International Symposium on Earthquake and Disaster Mitigation 2014 (ISEDM 2014)
AIP Conf. Proc. 1658, 030013-1–030013-10; doi: 10.1063/1.4915021
© 2015 AIP Publishing LLC 978-0-7354-1300-9/$30.00

From tectonic view, Sulawesi is formed by interaction from three world main plates at Mesozoic. Pacific -
Philippine Plate being moved to northwest, Indo - Australia Plate shift up to northeast and collision with stable
Eurasia Plate. In the triple junction zone, this condition made a part called micro-continent, melange zone, island arc
and ophiolite belt.
Sulawesi appeared from effect of collision between SundalandCraton (south and west of Sulawesi part) and part
of Indo – Australia Plate (part of TukangBesi - Buton Archipelago and Banggai – Sula Archipelago). South and west
part of Sulawesi predicted have the boundary of SundalandCraton as long as Sumatra - West Java - southeast
Kalimantan and to West Sulawesi. This is proved by existence of cretaceous metamorphic rock with high pressure -
low temperature characteristic, related to subduction. This condition cover middle Java, Meratus Mountain in
southeast Kalimantan and west part of Sulawesi [2].
This island have four arm called South Arm, North Arm, East Arm, and South-East Arm. North Arm represent
Sulawesi Volcanic arc formed since Late Neogene (5,44 myr) until now and related to subduction trench [3]. This
can be seen as coming from magmatic arc in North Arm [4]. Eastern Sulawesi Ophiolite Belt and small allochtonous
continental terrains occupied in East Arm and South-East Arm.
There are some fault segmentation which have potency make strong earthquake in Sulawesi. There are (a) Palu
– Koro Fault from Palu to south and southeast through north part of South Sulawesi to Bone and reach Banda Sea,
(b) Walannae Fault as long as Mamuju Coastal and cross of diagonally through middle Sulawesi South area,
Bulukumba go to east part of Selayar Island, and (c) Fault in Makassar Strait and Bone Gulf, and some fault in land
and sea.
TABLE. 1 Sulawesi Fault Data [5]
No Name mm/ year Type Strike Length (Km) Mmax
1 Palu – Koro 35 Strike-slip 50 459 7,94
2 Poso 2 Strike-slip 90 55 6,93
3 Matano Strike-slip 90 541 7,9
4 Lawanopo 25 Strike-slip 70 303 7,59
5 Walanae 2 Strike-slip 90 227 7,53
6 Gorontalo 11 Strike-slip 80 93 7,06
7 Batuithrust 2 Reverse 40 48 7,06
8 Tolothrust Reverse 25 220 7,94
9 Makassar thrust Reverse 25 72 7,46
10 Sulu thrust 10 Reverse 45 72 7,19
11 West Molucca Sea 13 Normal 30 567 8,47
12 East Molucca Sea 29 Normal 40 730 8,47


Earthquake is a hitch because release of energy from source on the earth then creep to surface. Tremor can be
felt by human or tools marker of earthquake, called seismograph.
Area of earthquake energy release will cause earthquake called earthquake focus. The fact that source of
earthquake come from fault motion, so earthquake focus do not represent a point, but an area unfolding some
kilometres. Earthquake focus located in depth, called hypocenter, under surface. Identify earthquake centre from
epicenter, a perpendicular point on the surface above focus. In determining focus, is important to know epicenter
location and depth [6].
An earthquake spread out seismic wave. Among all that P-wave is the easiest to be analysed, because P-wave is
the first wave arrive.
P-wave signal which recorded by seismograph, can give information of compression or dilatation from the fault.
So if the seismograph mapped at nodal plane, the data will represent a beach ball called Schmidt Diagram, which

drawing focal mechanism. Focal mechanism is the way of identifying the characteristic nature of earthquake. With
this technique, every earthquake can be analysed from strike-slip fault, reverse fault or normal fault [7].
From Schmidt Diagram the researcher got information about fault parameter like dip, strike, slip, plunge and
rake. That information is used to study the tectonic structure.


The research object is Sulawesi Island and some small island around it. The research object limited by Latitude:
50 N - 80 S and Longitude: 1180 - 1270 E. The used data is the secondary data of earthquake data from 1993 - 2012
for Sulawesi Island. The data have information about epicenter coordinates, magnitude, depth and origin time of
earthquake. The data collected from Indonesia Meteorological Climatological and Geophysical Agency (BMKG)
Geophysics Station of Gowa. The other data is fault parameter data of earthquake 1993 - 2012 for Sulawesi Island.
The data contain dip, strike and slip. The data obtained from Global-CMT (www.globalcmt.org). Besides that,
administration map and geology map for Sulawesi Island are also used.
Data processing is started from making the earthquake distribution map based magnitude and depth. This
research used earthquake data with magnitude > 4 SR (Richter Scale). After that, making Schmidt Diagram to study
tectonic setting from Sulawesi Island.


1993 – 2012 Sulawesi Earthquake Distribution Map Based Magnitude And Depth
Based to the Sulawesi earthquake distribution map based magnitude (FIG. 1) and based depth (FIG. 2),
earthquake can occurred in land and sea. The earthquake distribution show that Sulawesi have high earthquake
activity. This is showed clearly from epicenter at map in Sulawesi and around it.
The highest magnitude in Sulawesi is 8. The earthquake distribution showed the existence of trend that
earthquake source in the middle of Sulawesi and North Arm of Sulawesi have magnitude larger than the other areas.
This is showed the existence of active structure in that region.
If evaluated from depth, earthquake that occured in land generally shallow earthquake, except in South-East Arm
and North Arm of Sulawesi. The other way, earthquake that occured in sea generally middle and deep earthquake.
From this depth information, fault activities turn out influenced earthquakes in land. Earthquake in sea influenced by
subduction of micro-continent arranged Sulawesi tectonic.

FIGURE 1. Earthquake Epicenter Distribution Map Based Magnitude.

FIGURE2. Earthquake Epicenter Distribution Map Based Depth.

Sulawesi Tectonic Setting Analysis
FIG. 3 showed a red earthquake imaginary line in South Arm of Sulawesi. From that line, there are Schmidt
Diagram from two event of earthquake. From this diagram, structure becoming the source of earthquake is reverse
fault. The imaginary line come from Polewali
Polewali,, West Sulawesi go to Bulukumba, South Sulawesi. The line also get
through around Tempe Lake so that it can be concluded that Tempe Lake is tectonic lake influenced by reverse fault.
The structure is Walannae Fault.
Besides that, there is a black imaginary line in South-East Arm of Sulawesi. There are many middle earthquake.
Structure in this area is Lawanopo Fault. Lawanopo Fault is strike-slip fault and active.

FIGURE 3.Earthquake Pattern at South Arm and South-East Arm of Sulawesi.

FIG. 4 showed an earthquake imaginary line is in north part of the South-East Arm of Sulawesi. In this line,
there are six earthquakes which have Schmidt Diagram. Five earthquakes showed strike-slip fault structure. But
there is an earthquake showed normal fault structure. This earthquake located in the sea and represent earthquake
with middle depth. This case can represent other tectonic regime which have an effect on this structure. The tectonic
regime is influence from Sorong Fault. So that the middle earthqua ke occured by Sorong Fault, not by the strike-slip
fault structure. The structure is from Middle Sulawesi then through South-East Sulawesi to Banda Sea. The structure
also get through Matano Lake and Towuti Lake, indicated that the lakes influenced by same structure. The structure
is Matano Fault.

FIGURE 4.Earthquake Pattern at South-East Arm of Sulawesi.

FIG. 5 showed an earthquake pattern in middle region Sulawesi from 14 Schmidt Diagram. There are two
earthquakes showed normal fault structure. The other showed strike-slip fault structure. This pattern is arranged by
shallow earthquake and middle earthquake. So that it can be seen in general that this structure represent strike-slip
fault but there are other tectonic regime indicated as a normal fault. The tectonic regime come from Paternoster
Fault in Makassar Strait and sea floor spreading that occured in Maka
ssar Strait. This structure come from Makassar
Strait enter Sulawesi and go to Bone Gulf. The Poso Lake in the middle of Sulawesi is tectonic lake influenced by
this structure. This structure is Palu – Koro Fault.

FIGURE 5.Earthquake Pattern at middle of Sulawesi.

FIG. 6 showed an earthquake pattern in Tomini Gulf region and Moluccas Sea arranged by 60 Schmidt
Diagram. Schmidt Diagram showed this structure is strike-slip fault and reverse fault. The earthquake circumjacent
imaginary line showed reverse fault. While another showed strike-slip fault. Earthquake in east part generally
shallow earthquake and in west part generally middle earthquake. This condition indicated that subductionoccured in
west part. The subduction clarified by Schmidt Diagram who gave reverse fault sign. The structure is Batui Fault.
There are also other structure which indicated as strike-slip fault. This structure is fault segmentation of Batui Fault
having the character of as strike-slip fault. Batui Fault existed from Moluccas Sea go to Tomini Gulf. If this
earthquake pattern is continue to Sulawesi Neck, there is Unauna Volcano which indicated as result of from this

FIGURE 6.Earthquake Pattern at Tomini Gulf.

The same pattern is shown on FIG. 7. This pattern arranged from 71 Schmidt Diagram. Schmidt Diagram
showed the existence of reverse fault structure. This structure come Sangihe Talaud Island in North Sulawesi to
Moluccas Sea. This structure is Moluccas Sea Plate Subduction zone which unfolding from north to south in
eastside Manado. Subduction is the source from magmatic arcs in North Arm of Sulawesi, related to earthquake
activities in this region. The subduction is double subduction, east and west part.

FIGURE 7.Earthquake Pattern at Moluccas Sea.

The patterns are representation of Sulawesi tectonic setting. The map shown by FIG. 8 reveals arrangement of
tectonic setting in Sulawesi Island and its surroundings.

FIGURE 8. Sulawesi Tectonic Setting Based Earthquake.

The conclusion based from result and discussion are:
1. From epicenter distribution map based magnitude and depth, earthquakes occured in land and also in sea. The
earthquakes that occurred in the middle of Sulawesi and around North Arm of Sulawesi have magnitude larger
than other area. Earthquakes that occurred in land generally are shallow earthquake except in South-East Arm
and North Arm Sulawesi. This is influenced by fault structure. On the other way, earthquakes that occurred in
sea generally middle and deep earthquake as influence of micro-continent subduction arranged Sulawesi
2. Sulawesi and its surroundings have tectonic setting arranged by local geology structure. The geology structure
are Walannae Fault (South Arm of Sulawesi), Lawanopo Fault (South-East Arm of Sulawesi), Matano Fault
(middle of Sulawesi), Palu – Koro Fault (middle of Sulawesi), Batui Fault (Moluccas Sea and Tomini Gulf) and
Moluccas Sea Double Subduction (Sangihe Talaud Archipelago and Moluccas Sea).
3. Focal mechanism distribution by Schmidt Diagram showed the kind of structure. Walannae Fault, Batui Fault
and Moluccas Sea Double Subduction are reverse fault. Lawanopo Fault, Matano Fault and Palu – Koro Fault
are strike-slip fault.

Writer wish to thanks all assisting and supporting this research.Including to BMKG Geophysics Station of Gowa
and Geophysics Lecturer Staff of Hasanuddin University, who gave permission to publish this paper.

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