The Banda Detachment fault in eastern Indonesia is an ominous, frightening, seven-kilometre deep abyss beneath the ocean, and geologists have finally caught a glimpse of it for the first time, also documenting it. The geologists were also able to use their data to figure out how it was originally formed. Tsunami predictions in this area are looking at a massive breakthrough in the near future, the area in question belonging to the Ring of Fire, itself a large part of the Pacific Ocean basin, its claim to infamy being frequent volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Dr. Jonathan Pownall, who is a top researcher at The Australian National University, sometimes abbreviated to ANU, is certain that scientific and geological research into the threat of potential future tsunamis in the area will be aided by the recent finding of this fault. He said that the fault has been on the Geology world's radar "for ninety years," but that until this discovery, they were unable to properly locate it or explain “how it got so deep.”

‘Earth’s largest identified exposed fault plane’

Dr. Pownall went on to explain that the abyss was formed by extension. The geologists looked at high-res maps of the Banda Sea and discovered copious amounts of scars on the rocks that cover the seafloor that were parallel and straight.

These scars are evidence of a part of the Earth’s crust larger than Belgium being torn apart by extension 120 kilometres in length along the fault, which eventually formed the seven-kilometre deep abyss we see today. According to Dr. Pownall, this tear on the floor of the Banda Sea opened up in excess of 60,000 square kilometres.

He says this serves as an explanation of “how one of the Earth’s deepest sea areas became so deep.”

New research will help with tsunami prediction

On the topic of how the discovery of the fault will affect the world of tsunami prediction, Dr. Pownall said that given Indonesia’s status as “a region of extreme tsunami risk,” such as the Boxing Day tsunami portrayed in The Impossible, knowing about the Banda Detachment fault, which if it slips will lead to "big earthquakes," and all the data that goes along with it, is "fundamental" to earthquake hazard assessments.