Jon Wyatt Photography - fault line
Civilisation exists by geological consent, subject to change without notice. – Will Durant.
On the wall is a bathymetric map – a map of the topography of a section of the Pacific Ocean floor 2,500 miles east of Australia. Intricate, black wrinkles spread across the map denoting the contours and pressure ridges of the ocean landscape. At a depth of 11 miles those contours coalesce to form a thick, dark crease across the map. At this spot the Pacific tectonic plate dives below the Australian plate at an average of 10 inches per year – by far the fastest plate movement on the planet.
In 2009, in a massive fault rupture, the plates moved 22 feet relative to each other for a distance of 155 miles. The resulting wave was 55 feet high when it hit the nearest coastline – the island of Samoa, 100 miles to the north. It killed 189 people, destroyed 20 villages and left 3000 homeless.