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Molucca Sea Plate

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Title: Molucca Sea Plate  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Halmahera Plate, Sangihe Plate, Halmahera Arc, Philippine Mobile Belt, Earth and Its surface
Collection: Geology of Indonesia, Geology of the Pacific Ocean, Molucca Sea, Tectonic Plates
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Molucca Sea Plate

Map of the Molucca Sea Plate (as "Mer des Moluques") and its neighbouring plates (in French)


  • Earlier theory 1
  • Current theory 2
  • Recent large quakes (>6.0) in region 3
  • References 4

Earlier theory

The Molucca Sea Plate (also Molucca Sea Microplate) was theorised to be a small tectonic plate carrying northern Sulawesi, the Molucca Sea and a portion of the Banda Sea in a region littered with numerous small plates. The theory suggested a subduction zone lies along its northern border with the Sunda Plate. A small divergent boundary exists along the Sulawesi part of the border with the Banda Sea Plate and transitions into a convergent boundary as it bisects the Banda Sea; the rest of the borders being transform boundaries.

Current theory

More recent scientific studies suggest the Molucca Sea Plate has been totally subsumed by the Halmahera Plate and the Sangihe Plate, so that no portion of the Molucca Sea Plate remains exposed to the Earth's surface. The tectonic setting of this region is unique in that it is the only global example of an active arc-arc collision consuming an oceanic basin via subduction in two directions, between microplates Halmahera Plate and Sangihe Plate.[1] To the Southeast is the Sorong Fault, a major lateral east-west fault in the region which separates Bird's Head Plate and Halmahera Plate. This theory is more fully discussed in the article Molucca Sea Collision Zone.

Large earthquakes frequently strike this area sometimes triggering tsunamis.

Recent large quakes (>6.0) in region

  • Nov 14, 2014 - 7.3 Waters off Kota Ternate
  • Sept 9, 2014 - 6.5 South Molucca Sea
  • June 13, 2011 - 6.2 Molucca Sea
  • Feb 11, 2009 - 7.2 Kepulauan Talaud
  • Sep 10, 2008 - 6.6 180 km south of Manado on Sulawesi.
  • July 26, 2007 - 6.9 Molucca Sea
  • Mar 17, 2007 - 6.5 Molucca Sea
  • Jan 21, 2007 - 7.5 Molucca Sea, 5 deaths
  • May 19, 2006 - 6.3 Molucca Sea
  • Dec 21, 2005 - 6.3 190 km south of Manado.



  1. ^ USGS.GOV:Magnitude 7.2 - KEPULAUAN TALAUD, INDONESIA 2009 February 11 17:34:50 UTC
  2. ^ NEIC
  • Bird, P. (2003). "An updated digital model of plate boundaries". Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 4 (3): 1027.  
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