Transitions in the Banda Arc - Australia continental collision

Seismic station deployed in Nusa Tengarra Timur Indonesia


Eastern Indonesia is one of the least well-understood geological domains of our planet, and yet the region provides a truly remarkable location for unraveling some of the major puzzles of plate tectonics. The recent collision of the Australian continent with the active volcanic arc in the Banda region effectively captures the initiation of continental mountain building and the cessation of island arc volcanism, offering a rare glimpse into a set of processes that have shaped Earth’s evolution over geologic time.  Since oceanic subduction and subsequent continental collision have occurred in different stages along the Banda arc, we plan to use the region to study and assess the spatio-temporal evolution of this transition using a variety of methods: seismology, geodyanmics, tectonics, low-temperature geochemistry, and geomorphology.  We have installed 30 broadband seismometers, including the first ever seismometer on Timor Leste, across the archipelago of eastern Indonesia (NTT) in 2014.   The award is co-funded by the NSF Geophysics and Tectonics Programs, and the Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE) – Global Venture Fund (GVF).

Publications (°student, *postdoc):

°Zhang, P., Miller, M.S., & Schulte-Pelkum, V. (2022). Tectonic fabric in the Banda Arc-Australian continent collisional zone imaged by teleseismic receiver functions, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, accepted January 29, 2022.

°Harris, C.W. & Miller, M.S. (2022). Mantle flow deflected by arc-continent collision and continental subduction in eastern Indonesia, Seismological Research Letters, accepted February 11, 2022.

*Jiang, C., °Zhang, P., White, M.C.A., *Pickle, R., Miller, M.S. (2022). A detailed earthquake catalogue for Banda arc – Australian plate collision zone using machine-learning phase picker and an automated workflow, The Seismic Record, 2, 1-10. doi:10.1785/0320210041

°Zhang, P. and Miller, M.S. (2021). Seismic Imaging of the subducted Australian continental margin beneath Timor and the Banda Arc collision zone, Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2020GL089632, doi:10.1029/2020GL089632.

Miller, M.S., °Zhang, P., °Dahlquist, M., West, A.J., Becker, T.W., and °Harris, C.W. (2021). Inherited lithospheric structures control arc-continent collisional heterogeneity, Geology, 49, doi:10.1130/G48246.1.

°Harris, C.W., Miller, M.S., Supendi, P., Widiyantoro, S. (2020), Subducted lithospheric boundary tomographically imaged beneath arc-continent collision in eastern Indonesia, Journal of Geophysical Research, 125(8), e2019JB018854

Supendi, P., Nugraha, A.D., Widiyantoro, S., Abdullah, C.I., Rawlinson, N., Cummins, P.R., °Harris, C.W., °Roosmawati, N., and Miller, M.S. (2020), Fate of forearc lithosphere at arc-continent collision zones: evidence from local earthquake tomography of the Sunda-Banda arc transition, Indonesia, Geophysical Research Letters, 47, doi:10.1029/2019GL086472.

Miller, M.S., *O'Driscoll, L.J., Roosmawati, N., °Harris, C.W., *Porritt, R.W., Teofilo de Costa, L., Soares, E., Widiyantoro, S., Becker, T.W., and West, A.J. (2016), The Banda Arc experiment: Transitions in the Banda Arc - Australian continent collision, Seismological Research Letters, 87(5), doi:10.1785/0220160124.

*Porritt, R.W., Miller, M.S., *O’Driscoll, L.J., °Harris, C.W., and Roosmawati, N. (2016) Continent-arc collision in the Banda Arc imaged by ambient noise tomography, for Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 449, 246-258, doi:10.1016.j.epsl.2016.06.011.


University of Southern California (USC)

Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB)

Institute of Petroleum and Geology of Timor-Leste (IPG)