Analysis of the difference in depths and variation in slope steepness of the Sunda Trench, Indonesia, east Indian Ocean

  • Polina LEMENKOVA Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth, Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow, Russian Federation
Keywords: Submarine Geomorphology, GMT, Sunda Trench, Indian Ocean, Geology, Cartography, Mapping


The paper discusses geomorphology of the Sunda Trench, an oceanic trench located in eastern Indian Ocean along the Sumatra and Java Islands of the Indonesian archipelago. In particular, it analysis the difference in depths and variation in slope steepness between the two segments of the trench: the southern Java transect (coordinates 108.8°E 10.10°S to 113.0°E 10.75°S) and the northern Sumatra transect (97.5°E 1.1°S to 101.0°E 5.5°S). The thematic maps and geomorphological modelling were plotted using Generic Mapping Tools (GMT). The materials include high-resolution data on topography, geology and geophysics: GEBCO 15 arc-minute resolution grid, EGM2008 2.5 minute Earth Gravitation Model of 2008, GlobSed global 5‐arc‐minute total sediment thickness and vector geological datasets. In addition to the GEBCO-based bathymetric data, geological, topographic and geophysical maps, the results include enlarged transects for the Java and Sumatra segments, their slope gradients and cross-section profiles, derived from the bathymetric GEBCO dataset. The geomorphology framework of the Sunda Trench is largely controlled by the subduction of the Australian plate underneath the Sunda microplate. The geological processes take place in basin of the Indian Ocean at different stages of its evolution and influence the nature of the submarine geomorphology and geometric shape of the trench. Sunda Trench is seismically active part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. A large number of the catastrophic earthquakes are recorded around the trench. The histograms shows variation in depths along the segments of the Sumatra and Java. The Java segment has a bell-shaped data distribution in contrast to the Sumatra with bimodal pattern. The Java segment has the most repetitive depths at -2,500 to -5,200 m. The Sumatra transect has two peaks: 1) a classic bell-shaped peak at depths -4,500 m to -5,500 m; 2) shelf area with a peak from 0 to -1,750 m. The data at middle depths (-1,750 to -4,500 m) have a frequency <300 samples. The most frequent bathymetry for the Sumatra segment corresponds to the -4,750 m to -5,000 m (2,151 samples). Comparing to the Sumatra segment, the Java segment is deeper. For the depths >-6,000 m, there are only 138 samples for the Sumatra while 547 samples for Java. Furthermore, Java segment has more symmetrical geometric shape while Sumatra segment is asymmetric, one-sided. The Sumatra segment has a steepness of 57.86° on its eastern side (facing Sumatra Island) and a contrasting 14.58° on the western part. The Java segment has a steepness of 64.34° on its northern side (facing Java Island) and 24.95° on the southern part (facing Indian Ocean). The paper contributes to the studies of the submarine geomorphology in Indonesia.

How to Cite
LEMENKOVA, P. (2020). Analysis of the difference in depths and variation in slope steepness of the Sunda Trench, Indonesia, east Indian Ocean. Revista De Geomorfologie, 22(1), 21-41.