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Great earthquakes such as the Sumatra-Andaman event, which are invariably associated with megathrust events in subduction zones, have seismic moments that can account for a significant fraction of the global earthquake moment across century-scale time periods.
Of all the seismic moment released by earthquakes in the 100 years from 1906 through 2005, roughly one-eighth was due to the Sumatra-Andaman event.
Although the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has accepted these new numbers, the United States Geological Survey has so far not changed its estimate of 9.1.
The most recent studies in 2006 have obtained a magnitude of The hypocentre of the main earthquake was approximately 160 km (100 mi) off the western coast of northern Sumatra, in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island at a depth of 30 km (19 mi) below mean sea level (initially reported as 10 km (6.2 mi)).
This quake, together with the Good Friday earthquake (Alaska, 1964) and the Great Chilean earthquake (1960), account for almost half of the total moment.
Since 1900 the only earthquakes recorded with a greater magnitude were the 1960 Great Chilean earthquake (magnitude 9.5) and the 1964 Good Friday earthquake in Prince William Sound (9.2).
The raising of the sea floor significantly reduced the capacity of the Indian Ocean, producing a permanent rise in the global sea level by an estimated 0.1 millimetres (0.004 in).
This greatly increased the geographical area over which the waves were observed, reaching as far as Mexico, Chile, and the Arctic.The northern section of the Sunda megathrust ruptured over a length of 1,300 km (810 mi).Splay faults, or secondary "pop up faults", caused long, narrow parts of the sea floor to pop up in seconds.At this point the India Plate subducts beneath the Burma Plate, which carries the Nicobar Islands, the Andaman Islands, and northern Sumatra.The India Plate sinks deeper and deeper beneath the Burma Plate until the increasing temperature and pressure drive volatiles out of the subducting plate.