Thailand is surrounded by seismically active plate boundary zones and large-offset crustal faults, but there is comparatively little seismic activity within its borders. On 5 May 2014, a moment magnitude (MW) 6.2 earthquake occurred in the Mae Lao district of northern Thailand. To better anticipate future seismic hazards from events like this, we model the state of stress in Thailand and its vicinity using a finite element approach. We identify northern Thailand as a region with significant stress accumulation, consistent with being caused by convergence at the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone and southward escape of the Himalayan Orogen. The stress field in this region is compatible with the kinematics of the Mae Lao event. Our modeling also shows that the magnitude of the stress field throughout southeast Asia is particularly sensitive to the stage of the earthquake cycle at the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone, although the Sumatra-Andaman subduction zone produces a smaller effect on the orientations of stresses in the source region of the Mae Lao earthquake. Finally, we find that the stress change effect from the Mae Lao earthquake is geographically limited and the broader region remains in nearly the same state of stress as prior to the event.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth-Surface Processes