Java Trench

Java Trench

The Java Trench, also called Sunda Trench, located in the northeastern Indian Ocean, with a length of 2,600 km and a maximum depth of 7,725 meters (at 10°19'S, 109°58'E, about 320 km south of Yogyakarta), was long thought to be the deepest trench of the Indian Ocean, but it is in fact second to the Diamantina Trench in the South East Indian Basin.

The trench is a seam of tectonic plates, the Burma and Sunda on the east, and the India Plate on the west. Deformation along the plate boundary, or subduction zone, resulted in the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and the ensuing deadly tsunami on December 26, 2004.

There is scientific evidence that the recent earthquake activity in the area of the Java Trench could lead to further catastrophic shifting within a relatively short period of time, perhaps less than a decade. This threat has resulted in international agreements to establish a Tsunami warning system in place along the Indian Ocean coast.


Some of the earliest exploration of the Trench occurred in the late 1950s when Robert Fisher, Research Geologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, investigated the trench as part of a world wide scientific field exploration of the world's ocean floor and sub-oceanic crustal-structure. Bomb-sounding, echo-train analysis and manometer were some of the techniques used to determine the depth of the trench. The research contributed to an understanding of the subduction characteristic of the Pacific margins.

Various agencies have explored the trench in the aftermath of the 2004 earthquake, and these explorations have revealed extensive changes in the ocean floor.

In popular culture

The Sunda [Java] Trench is a clue to the location of the wreckage of missing Oceanic Flight 815 in "Find 815, a viral marketing/alternate reality game based on the ABC television series Lost.

See also


Further reading

  • Špičák, A., V. Hanuš, and J. Vaněk (2007), Earthquake occurrence along the Java trench in front of the onset of the Wadati-Benioff zone: Beginning of a new subduction cycle?, Tectonics, 26, TC1005

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