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After a pause of about another 100 seconds, the rupture continued northwards towards the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.However, the northern rupture occurred more slowly than in the south, at about 2.1 km/s (1.3 mi/s) (7,500 km/h or 4,700 mph), continuing north for another five minutes to a plate boundary where the fault type changes from subduction to strike-slip (the two plates slide past one another in opposite directions).
Indonesia lies between the Pacific Ring of Fire along the north-eastern islands adjacent to New Guinea, and the Alpide belt that runs along the south and west from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Flores to Timor.
This quake, together with the Good Friday earthquake (Alaska, 1964) and the Great Chilean earthquake (1960), account for almost half of the total moment.
Since 1900 the only earthquakes recorded with a greater magnitude were the 1960 Great Chilean earthquake (magnitude 9.5) and the 1964 Good Friday earthquake in Prince William Sound (9.2).
The megathrust earthquake was unusually large in geographical and geological extent.
An estimated 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) of fault surface slipped (or ruptured) about 15 metres (50 ft) along the subduction zone where the Indian Plate slides (or subducts) under the overriding Burma Plate.