Tsunami of 2004 in the Indian Ocean: 17 years later, look back at one of the deadliest natural disasters in history | World news


On December 26, 2021, 17 years have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004 that struck the coasts of several countries in South and Southeast Asia and wreaked havoc among the population.

Ranked among the worst calamities in this part of the world, more than 230,000 people across India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Thailand and Indonesia were and countries suffered billions of dollars in property damage after the 100-foot tsunami triggered by a magnitude 9.1 earthquake.

The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is also known as the Boxing Day tsunami or, in the scientific community, the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake. According to a CNN report, the tremors were so powerful that it was one of those rare instances where the entire planet was vibrating and no place on Earth was immune to movement.

“Overall, this earthquake was large enough to vibrate the entire planet down to half an inch or a centimeter,” the report cited, citing an associate professor of geosciences at Penn State University in the United States. “Everywhere we had instruments, we could see movement. “

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami on its 17th anniversary:

Where was the epicenter of the earthquake?

The mega thrust underwater earthquake, with a magnitude of 9.1 to 9.3, originated in an epicenter off the west coast of North Sumatra in Indonesia, caused by a rupture along the line fault between the Burmese plate and the Indian plate.

The earthquake was immediately felt in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Thailand and the Maldives. In its wake, the tsunami followed and, due to the appearance of the seabed, the height and intensity of the tsunami waves increased dramatically and resulted in the destruction of communities along the surrounding coasts of the Indian Ocean. .

Among the deadliest natural disasters in history

Triggered by offshore underwater seismic activity, the 100-foot-high tsunami waves exposed complete annihilation in as many as 14 countries, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

According to geological estimates, the 2004 earthquake was the third largest of its kind on record, and it even managed to trigger aftershocks as far as Alaska. The plight of the people and countries affected has prompted a global humanitarian response, with donations totaling more than $ 14 billion.

Indonesia, most affected by the disaster, was no stranger to earthquakes, however, lying between the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Alpine Belt along the south and west. In fact, the 2002 Sumatran earthquake is believed to have been a prelude to this main event.

Tsunami waves more destructive than WWII nuclear bombs

According to Tad Murty, vice president of the Tsunami Society, the total wave energy of the 2004 tsunami (the large, destructive waves slowed near the coast and reached heights of 80 to 100 feet) was equivalent to about five megatons of TNT (21 PJ), which is more than double the total explosive energy used throughout WWII, including the two atomic bombs.

Vasily Titov, tsunami researcher and forecaster at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Tsunami Research, also cites the destructive capacity of the 2004 tsunami to earthquake in the megathrust fault, “where heavy oceanic plates subduct under plates. continental lighter ”.

“These are the biggest faults in the world and they are all underwater,” he said, citing History. He added that the tsunami waves could be seen as a large pebble falling into the ocean causing mega ripples.

A revelation for India

The Sumatran earthquake and tsunami are considered a revelation for India as they introduced the Indian coastline to the tsunami and its destructive power. Learning from the lessons of the unprecedented natural disaster that caused such damage to life and property, the Land Ministry founded the Indian Tsunami Early Warning System (ITEWS) at the Indian National Center for Information Services on the oceans (INCOIS), in Hyderabad in October 2007.

Indian scientists are now able to predict and project movements in the Indian Ocean thanks to real-time seismic monitoring with bottom pressure recorders (BPRs), tide gauges and a 24-hour tsunami warning system. / 24 and 7/7 to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes in order to provide early warning to the most vulnerable.

India eventually became the first country to establish an early warning system for tsunami detection, while Odisha became the first state in the country to achieve Tsunami Ready recognition.

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