Geological and tectonic implications obtained from first seismic activity investigation around Lembang fault
© Afnimar et al.; licensee Springer. 2015
Received: 6 August 2014
Accepted: 2 February 2015
Published: 7 March 2015
The Lembang fault located at northern part of populated Bandung basin is the most conspicuous fault that potentially capable in generating earthquakes. The first seismic investigation around Lembang fault has been done by deploying a seismic network from May 2010 till December 2011 to estimate the seismic activities around that fault. Nine events were recorded and distributed around the fault. Seven events were likely to be generated by the Lembang fault and two events were not. The events related to the Lembang fault strongly suggest that this fault has left-lateral kinematic. It shows vector movement of Australian plate toward NNE might have been responsible for the Lembang fault kinematic following its initial vertical gravitational movement. The 1-D velocity model obtained from inversion indicates the stratigraphy configuration around the fault composed at least three layers of low Vp/Vs at the top, high Vp/Vs at the middle layer and moderate Vp/Vs at the bottom. In comparison with general geology of the area, top, mid and bottom layers may consecutively represent Quaternary volcanic layer, pre-Quaternary water-filled sedimentary layer and pre-Quaternary basement. Two eastern events related to minor faults and were caused by a gravitational collapse.
The formation of the Lembang Fault was explained by Dam . In the Early-Middle Quaternary, the west–east trending highland with the oldest volcanoes of the Burangrang-Sunda complex (including Tangkubanperahu Volcano), the volcanic ridges and peaks in the northeastern Lembang area, and most of the volcanic terrain between Bandung and Sumedang were formed. Following the build up of the Sunda volcano, a gravitational collapse, due to the loading of enormous amounts of volcanic deposits on ductile marine sediments, caused thrust faults and diapiric structures in the near surface strata of the northern foot slopes (Van Bemmelen, ). Rifting associated with catastrophic sector failure eruptions destroyed the volcanic cones, while the depressurization of the main magma reservoir led to normal faulting and the formation of the Lembang fault. This fault, with an impressive scarp, was studied by Tjia , who concluded both older dip-slip and younger strike-slip displacement had occurred.
Recent paleoseismological study shows several evidences of near past activities of the fault. This study concluded that within last 2 kyrs, the Lembang fault has been capable in producing earthquake of ~ 6.8 and 6.6 magnitude at about 2 and 0.5 kyrs BP respectively . Accordingly, the fault may be capable in triggering earthquakes of comparable magnitudes in the future.
The Bandung Basin as seen in (Figure 1) will act to amplify seismic waves if the Lembang fault generates an earthquake. The level of amplification is depended on sediment thickness. The sediment structure has been investigated using the microtremor array method , which showed that the deepest basement reaches about 3.5 km. Seismic wave amplification in the Bandung Basin was simulated by Afnimar  using Haskell’s method.
Although paleoseismological study of the Lembang fault shows evidences of significant faultings at the past, the seismicity around the Lembang fault is generally very low and mostly not sensed by people. In July 21, 2011, a M 2.9 earthquake and in August 28, 2011, a M3.3 earthquake (BMKG report) were those among others sensed by people and brought spotted damages to houses in the vicinity of the fault zone, and were recorded by the local seismic network around the fault. Until now, detail seismic investigation of the Lembang fault has not been done. In this study, we investigate it using hypocenter relocation (including 1-D velocity determination) and focal mechanism analysis.
The first step that should be done on earthquake analysis is earthquake location determination. An earthquake location includes a geographical position, a depth and an origin time. The origin time can be determined using what is called a Wadati diagram . The result from the Wadati diagram is one input of the gradient inversion method that is usually used to locate one event. This is the reason for this method is often used as a single event determination (SED). The velocity structure used in this step is guessed from geological structures around the Lembang fault. This inversion method was first introduced and applied by Geiger  and called the Geiger method of earthquake location. The result of the SED method should be recalculated due to the structure heterogeneity around the Lembang fault. A joint Hypocenter Location (JHD) method was first proposed by Douglas  to accommodate the residual time at all stations (station correction) caused by velocity heterogeneity of station locations. Kissling et al.  extended the JHD method by including a 1-D velocity model as a parameter in inversion.
Earthquake location and focal mechanism
Hypocenter parameters of all events
Origin time (UTC)
−6.8011° ± 0.002 km
107.7505° ± 0.002 km
03.87 ± 0.005
−6.7860° ± 0.003 km
107.4728° ± 0.007 km
14.03 ± 0.021
−6.7889° ± 0.003 km
107.5056° ± 0.001 km
17.74 ± 0.001
−6.7523° ± 0.004 km
107.5453° ± 0.004 km
27.31 ± 0.011
−6.7870° ± 0.001 km
107.5087° ± 0.001 km
19.75 ± 0.000
−6.8242° ± 0.002 km
107.6933° ± 0.011 km
10.46 ± 0.005
−6.7935° ± 0.001 km
107.6922° ± 0.006 km
02.26 ± 0.015
−6.7633° ± 0.005 km
107.5418° ± 0.003 km
25.46 ± 0.007
−6.7481° ± 0.004 km
107.4971° ± 0.000 km
29.60 ± 0.010
Fault plane and seismic moment of all events obtained from moment tensor inversion
Fault plane I (strike/dip/rake)
Fault plane II (strike/dip/rake)
M 0 (Nm)
0.55 × 1012
0.32 × 1012
6.12 × 1011
0.15 × 1012
0.30 × 1012
0.35 × 1010
0.54 × 1010
0.40 × 1011
0.69 × 1012
The events related to the Lembang fault strongly suggest that this fault has left-lateral kinematic with slightly trust component. The NNE vector movement of Australian plate (e,g. ) might have been responsible for the kinematic reversion of the Lembang fault following its initial vertical gravitational movement. Initial movement of east segment of the fault might have been triggered by cataclysmic eruption of Sunda Volcano as explained by Van Bemmelen , and that of west segment by cataclysmic eruption of Proto-Tangkubanperahu Volcano as deducted by Nossin et al.  but subsequent movements should have been triggered by slow strain accumulation from NNE movement of the Australian plate. It could be deducted here that although the Lembang Fault was kinematically formed as a normal fault, it has kinematically been reverted to a left-lateral strike-slip fault with a trust (dip-slip) component. This could be an explanation for the occurrence of slicken-lines with horizontal component reported by Tjia (1968).
The widely recognized surface trace of the Lembang fault stretches for about 15 km in the ESE – WSW (Figure 1) with a strike of ~ N282°E. Events 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 are distributed in an area west of this well-known surface trace of the Lembang Fault (Figure 6). Because the hypocenters for these events lie at some distance from this surface trace, they appear at first glance to be unrelated to the Lembang fault. But the strikes of the fault planes designated (I) in (Table 2) are quite consistent with the strike of the Lembang fault. Their vertical distribution along the cross section AB indicated in (Figure 7) also aligns well with a possible westward extension of the Lembang fault, assuming the near-vertical dip that is consistent with the estimated fault planes. For these reasons, we interpret these events to be related to the Lembang fault. This implies that the Lembang fault extends at least 10 km further westward than would be inferred from its surface trace. Consequently, there should be a fault line extends slightly westward from the end point of Lembang fault. This line could be connected to the existing Lembang fault line and morphologically unexposed (dash-line in Figure 6), or it is a different segment of Lembang fault. Based on regional mapping of morphological features, Horspool et al.  notified that at the west-end, the fault line is slightly hooked southward showing a horsetail shape. At the south end of this horsetail shape, another possible fault line stretches almost parallel to the Lembang fault where to the north of this line, events 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 are distributed. Therefore, we simply interpret that those events were related to this line that is probably another segment of Lembang fault. From these events, we also can state the geometry of Lembang fault. The average strike is about 277° which is not so different with surface trend line of 282°, the dip is about 85° and the rake is about 35°.
Events those occurred at the eastern part of Lembang fault are distributed in an area where a graben structure had developed during cataclysmic eruption of Sunda Volcano at about 0.2-0.18 Ma . A pair of E-W oriented faults at the north and south bordered this graben . The south border is then recognized as the east segment of Lembang fault. This initial geological structure influences further local tectonic evolution as indicated by events 1, 6, and 7. Focal mechanisms of these events, particularly events 1 and 7, suggest apparent normal faulting component (gravitational collapses). Events 1 and 7 might be related to faulting of minor faults in the graben area to the north of Lembang fault. Due to its position (Figure 7) and its focal mechanism, event 6 might be related to the eastern part of Lembang. Obvious left-lateral component of event 6 is consistent with those of events distributed at the west of Lembang fault and thus strongly suggesting left-lateral kinematic of Lembang fault.
Velocity model used in SED and its velocity obtained from JHD
Vp / Vs
Low Vp/Vs with low Vp in the top layer may correlate with large aspect ratio of water content in pores of rocks. Takei  report that the water-filled pores have a different effect on seismic velocity and Poisson’s ratio, which depends on the shape of the pores. Water-filled pores of a small aspect ratio decrease seismic velocity with increasing Poisson’s ratio. Water-filled pores of a large aspect ratio, however, can lower Poisson’s ratio slightly with decreasing seismic velocity. From this perspective, high Vp/Vs with moderate Vp and low Vs in the middle layer may indicate smaller aspect ratio of water content of this layer compared to that of the top layer. Lower Vp/Vs with high Vp and Vs in the bottom layer may indicate smallest aspect ratio of water content compared to that in the middle and top layers.
Station corrections obtained from JHD
Δt Vp (sec)
Δt Vs (sec)
From this investigation, stratigraphy of the study area has been revealed based on Vp, Vs and Vp/Vs, consisting of three layers. In a perspective of aspect ratio of water content, the top layer with low Vp/Vs, low Vp and low Vs is composed of rocks with largest aspect ratio of water content. The bottom layer with high Vp/Vs, high Vp and high Vs is composed of rocks with smallest aspect ratio of water content. In comparison with general geology of the area, the top layer should represent the Quaternary volcanic layer, and the middle and bottom layers should represent the Tertiary sedimentary layer.
The source mechanism of earthquakes along the Lembang fault is left-lateral faulting. All western events are probably related to a new segment of the Lembang fault. This new segment is maybe developed by pressure of Australian plate indicated by horsetail feature. Two shallow eastern events are related to the minor faults and caused by a gravitational collapse.
We thank Prof. Koketsu from Earthquake Research Institute, The University of Tokyo for his helpful advices. We also thank two reviewers for their constructive comments. Many thanks Prof. Satake from Earthquake Research Institute, The University of Tokyo for his critical review on content and writing of manuscripts.
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