The January 3, 2016 M 6.7 earthquake near Imphal, India occurred as the result
of strike slip faulting in the complex plate boundary region between India and
the Eurasia plate in southeast Asia. Focal mechanisms for the event indicate slip
occurred on either a right-lateral fault plane dipping moderately to the east-northeast,
or on a left-lateral fault dipping steeply to the south-southeast. In the region of the
earthquake, the India plate is moving towards the north-northeast with respect to Eurasia
at a velocity of approximately 48 mm/yr; the regional plate boundary in eastern India –
the Indo-Burmese Arc - is oriented approximately south-southwest-north-northeast.
The tectonics of southeast Asia are broadly dominated by the collision of the Indian
subcontinent with Eurasia, which causes uplift that produces the highest mountain peaks
in the world, including the Himalayan, the Karakoram, the Pamir and the Hindu Kush ranges.
In northeast India, the ~east-west oriented Himalayan Front takes a southward turn towards
Burma , and plate boundary deformation is more broadly distributed over a series of reverse
and strike-slip structures in the Indo-Burmese Arc system, including the Sagaing, Kabaw and
Dauki faults. The January 3, 2016 earthquake occurred in this region of broad deformation,
at a depth of close to 50 km within the lithosphere of the India plate. The causative fault
is unknown, but is broadly related to this plate boundary deformation. Farther south,
plate motions are accommodated by northeast-oriented subduction of the India plate beneath
the Sunda plate and the Burmese Arc.