View Full Version : 26th December 2004, a day to remember... Indian Ocean tsunami
October 23rd, 2005, 06:40 AM
26 December 2004
9.15 magnitude on the Richter scale
Strike at Simeulue island, off the western coast of northern Sumatra
Destroying shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South India, Thailand and other countries with waves up to 30 m (100 ft).
Making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history
The world's highest death toll from a Tsunami
Over 300,000 people predicted dead and over five million homeless
It caused the entire planet to vibrate at least a few centimetres. (CNN) It also triggered earthquakes elsewhere, as far away as Alaska (Science).
The disaster is also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami.
October 23rd, 2005, 05:53 PM
Animation of the tsunami caused by the earthquake
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, known by the scientific community as the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake, was an undersea earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC (07:58:53 local time) on December 26, 2004. The tsunami generated by the earthquake killed approximately 275,000 people, making it one of the deadliest disasters in modern history. The disaster is also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami.
Various values were given for the magnitude of the earthquake, a Rare great earthquake, ranging from 9.0 to 9.3 (which would make it the second largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph), though authoritative estimates now put the magnitude at 9.15.
In May 2005, scientists reported that the earthquake itself lasted close to ten minutes when most major earthquakes last no more than a few seconds; it caused the entire planet to vibrate at least a few centimetres. (CNN) It also triggered earthquakes elsewhere, as far away as Alaska (Science).
The earthquake originated in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island, off the western coast of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. The resulting tsunami devastated the shores of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, South India, Thailand and other countries with waves up to 30 m (100 ft). It caused serious damage and deaths as far as the east coast of Africa, with the furthest recorded death due to the tsunami occurring at Port Elizabeth in South Africa, 8,000 km (5,000 mi) away from the epicentre *.
Approximately 170,000–275,000 thought to have died as a result of the tsunami, and the count is not yet complete. In Indonesia in particular, 500 bodies a day were still being found in February 2005 and the count was expected to continue past June (CNN, February 10, 2005, ). The true final toll may never be known due to bodies having been swept out to sea, but current estimates use conservative methodologies. Relief agencies warn of the possibility of more deaths to come as a result of epidemics caused by poor sanitation, but the threat of starvation seems now to have been largely averted (BBC News, January 9, 2005, ). The plight of the many affected people and countries prompted a widespread humanitarian response.
Epicentre of the quake, just north of Simeulue Island
The earthquake was initially reported as 8.6 on the Richter scale. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) also estimated it at 8.5 shortly after the earthquake. On the moment magnitude scale, which is more accurate for quakes of this size, the earthquake's magnitude was first reported as 8.1 by the U.S. Geological Survey. After further analysis, this was increased to 8.5, 8.9, and 9.0 (USGS, 2004, ). In February 2005, some scientists revised the estimate of magnitude to 9.3. Although the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has accepted this, the USGS has so far not changed its estimate of 9.0 (McKee, 9 Feb 2005, ). The most definitive estimate so far has put the magnitude at 9.15 .
The hypocentre of the main earthquake was at 3.316°N, 95.854°E (3°19′ N 95°51.24′ E), some 160 km (100 mi) west of Sumatra, at a depth of 30 km (18.6 mi) below mean sea level (initially reported as 10 km). This is at the extreme western end of the Ring of Fire, an earthquake belt that accounts for 81 percent of the world's largest earthquakes (USGS FAQ, ). The earthquake itself (apart from the tsunami) was felt as far away as Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Singapore and the Maldives.
Aftershocks and other earthquakes
Locations of initial quake and aftershocks
Numerous aftershocks were reported off the Andaman Islands, the Nicobar Islands and the region of the original epicentre in the hours and days that followed. The largest aftershock of magnitude 8.7 was located off the Sumatran island of Nias . Other aftershocks of up to magnitude 6.6 continue to shake the region on a daily basis  .
The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake came just three days after a magnitude 8.1 earthquake in an uninhabited region west of New Zealand's sub-Antarctic Auckland Islands, and north of Australia's Macquarie Island . This is unusual, since earthquakes of magnitude 8 or more occur only about once per year on average. Some seismologists have speculated about a connection between these two earthquakes, saying that the former one might have been a catalyst to the Indian Ocean earthquake, as the two quakes happened on opposite sides of the Indo-Australian Plate  (a 6.5 earthquake occurred on 19 February 2005 off Sulawesi at the other end of the Indonesian island chain). However the US Geological Survey sees no evidence of a causal relationship .
Coincidentally the earthquake struck almost exactly one year (to the hour) after a magnitude 6.6 earthquake killed an estimated 30,000 people in the city of Bam in Iran .
As well as continuing aftershocks, the energy released by the original earthquake continued to make its presence felt well after the event. A week after the earthquake, its reverberations could still be measured, providing valuable scientific data about the Earth's interior .
An earthquake of magnitude 8.7 was reported shortly at 16:09:37 UTC (23:09:37 local time) on March 28, 2005 approximately at the same location (see 2005 Sumatran earthquake). It is likely a very large aftershock of the original earthquake. This earthquake had strong aftershocks of its own, including magnitude 6.0 and 6.1 quakes. At 8.7, it ranks as the 7th largest earthquake since 1900.
An earthquake magnitude 6.7 struck on 10 April at 1729 local time (1029 GMT) about 120 km (75 mi) south-west of the city of Padang. See BBC News: Sumatra shaken by new earthquake - also see Wikinews
Some scientists warn that geological stresses caused by the recent quakes may even have increased the possibility that the Lake Toba supervolcano could erupt.  According to the Toba catastrophe theory, this could threaten human life on Earth.
Some scientists confirm that the December quake had activated Leuser Mountain, a volcano in Aceh province along the same range of peaks as Talang, while the 2005 Sumatran earthquake had sparked activity in lake Toba, an ancient crater in Sumatra. 
Coincidentally, Mount Talang has since erupted  and is now on top alert.
Power of the earthquake
Radar imaging of the tsunami two hours after the earthquake
Ripples were felt around the world.
The total energy released by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake has been estimated as 3.35 exajoules (3.35×1018 joules) . This is equivalent to 0.8 gigatons of TNT, or about as much energy as is used in the United States in 11 days. However, the most reliable seismic energy release estimate, as of the Sept 30th 2005, is 1.1×1018 joules. This corresponds to about 0.25 gigatons of TNT. The earthquake is estimated to have resulted in an oscillation of the Earth's surface of about 20-30 cm (8 to 12 in), equivalent to the effect of the tidal forces caused by the Sun and Moon. The shock waves of the earthquake were felt across the planet; as far away as Oklahoma, where vertical movements of 3 mm (0.12 in) were recorded . The entire Earth's surface is estimated to have moved vertically by up to 1 cm.
October 24th, 2005, 05:29 PM
Signs and warnings
Despite a lag of up to several hours between the earthquake and the impact of the tsunami, nearly all of the victims were taken completely by surprise; there were no tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean to detect tsunamis, or equally importantly, to warn the general populace living around the ocean. Tsunami detection is not easy because while a tsunami is in deep water it has a very low height and a network of sensors is needed to detect it. Setting up the communications infrastructure to issue timely warnings is an even bigger problem , particularly in a relatively poor part of the world.
Scientists were also hampered by the incorrect initial estimates for the magnitude of the earthquake, which was originally put at 8.1. The determination that the earthquake had actually been much stronger (and the resulting tsunami much larger) was not made until after the tsunami had already struck.
Tsunamis are much more frequent in the Pacific Ocean due to earthquakes in the "Ring of Fire", and an effective tsunami warning system has long been in place there. Although the extreme western edge of the "Ring of Fire" extends into the Indian Ocean (the point where this earthquake struck), no warning system exists in that ocean. Tsunamis there are relatively rare, despite earthquakes being relatively frequent in Indonesia. The last major tsunami was caused by the Krakatoa eruption of 1883. It should be noted that not every earthquake produces large tsunamis; on March 28, 2005 a magnitude 8.7 quake hit roughly the same area of the Indian Ocean but did not result in a major tsunami.
In the aftermath of the disaster there is now an awareness of the need for a tsunami warning system for the Indian Ocean. The UN has started working on an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System and aims to have initial steps in place by end 2005 . Some have even proposed creating a unified global tsunami warning system, to include the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. See International Early Warning Programme.
Unfamiliarity with warning signs
The first warning sign of a possible tsunami is the earthquake itself. However, tsunamis can strike thousands of miles away, where the earthquake is only felt weakly or not at all. Also, in the minutes preceding a tsunami strike the sea often recedes temporarily from the coast. People in Pacific regions are more familiar with tsunamis and often recognize this phenomenon as a sign to head for higher ground. However, around the Indian Ocean, this rare sight reportedly induced people, especially children, to visit the coast to investigate and collect stranded fish on as much as 2.5 km (1.6 mi) of exposed beach, with fatal results .
One of the few coastal areas to evacuate ahead of the tsunami was on the Indonesian island of Simeulue, very close to the epicentre. Island folklore recounted an earthquake and tsunami in 1907 and the islanders fled to inland hills after the initial shaking —before the tsunami struck . On Maikhao beach in northern Phuket, Thailand, a 10 year old British girl named Tilly Smith had studied tsunamis in geography class at school and recognised the warning signs of the receding ocean and frothing bubbles. She and her parents warned others on the beach, which was evacuated safely .
Damage and casualties
Note: All figures are approximate and subject to change. The first column links to more details on specific countries.
1 Includes those reported under 'Confirmed'. If no separate estimates are available, the number in this column is the same as reported under 'Confirmed'.
2 Does not include approximately 19,000 missing people initially declared by Tamil Tiger authorities from regions under their control .
3 Data includes at least 2,464 foreigners.
4 Does not include South African citizens who died outside of South Africa (eg, tourists in Thailand).
Part of the devastation of Banda Aceh on the island of Sumatra as a result of the tsunami caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (Credit: DigitalGlobe)
The reported death toll from the earthquake, the tsunami and the resultant floods varies widely because of confusion and conflicting reports, but could total over 265,000 people with tens of thousands reported missing, and over a million left homeless. The U.S. Geological Survey records the toll as 283,100 killed, 14,100 missing, and 1,126,900 people displaced . Early news reports after the earthquake spoke of a toll only in the "hundreds", but the numbers rose steadily over the following week.
Relief agencies report that one-third of the dead appear to be children. This is a result of the high proportion of children in the populations of many of the affected regions and because children were the least able to resist being overcome by the surging waters. Oxfam went on to report that as many as four times more women than men were killed in some regions because they were waiting on the beach for the fishermen to return and looking after their children in the houses. 
In addition to the large number of local residents, up to 9,000 foreign tourists (mostly Europeans) enjoying the peak holiday travel season were among the dead or missing, especially Scandinavians. The European nation hardest hit may have been Sweden, which reported more than 500 dead or missing .
States of emergency were declared in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and the Maldives. The United Nations has declared that the current relief operation will be the costliest ever. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has stated that reconstruction would probably take between five and ten years. Governments and NGOs fear the final death toll may double as a result of diseases, prompting a massive humanitarian response.
Measured in lives lost, this is one of the ten worst earthquakes in recorded history.  It is also the single worst tsunami in history.
For purposes of establishing timelines of local events, the time zones of affected areas are: UTC+3: (Kenya, Madagascar, Somalia, Tanzania); UTC+4: (Mauritius, Réunion, Seychelles); UTC+5: (Maldives); UTC+5:30: (India); UTC+6: (Bangladesh, Sri Lanka); UTC+6:30: (Cocos Islands, Myanmar); UTC+7: (Indonesia (western), Thailand); UTC+8: (Malaysia, Singapore). Since the quake occurred at 00:58:53 UTC, add the above offsets to find the local time of the quake. A list of times can be found at a USGS site.
Countries most directly affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami affected many countries in Southeast Asia and beyond, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, the Maldives, Somalia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Seychelles and others. Many other countries, especially Australia and those in Europe, had large numbers of citizens travelling in the region on holiday. Countries like Sweden and Germany lost over 500 citizens in the disaster.
October 28th, 2005, 04:55 PM
Humanitarian, economic and environmental impact
Main article: Humanitarian response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
A great deal of humanitarian aid was needed due to widespread damage of the infrastructure, shortages of food and water, and economic damage. Epidemics were of special concern, due to the high population density and tropical climate of the affected areas. The main concern of humanitarian and government agencies was to provide sanitation facilities and fresh drinking water to contain the spread of diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, dysentery and typhoid.
In the days after the event, significant effort was spent in burying bodies hurriedly for fear of disease. However, the public health risks may have been exaggerated and therefore this may not have been the best way to allocate resources. See Dead bodies and health risks. The World Food Programme provided food aid to more than 1.3 million people affected by the tsunami .
Nations all over the world provided over USD 3 billion in aid for damaged regions, with the Australian Government pledging USD 819.9 million (including a USD 760.6 million aid package for Indonesia), the German Government offering USD 660 million, the Japanese Government offering USD 500 million, the Canadian Government offering CAD 425 million, the Norwegian Government offering USD 170 million, the U.S. Government offering USD 35 million initially, and the World Bank offering USD 250 million. According to USAID, the US has pledged additional funds in long-term U.S. support to help the tsunami victims rebuild their lives. On February 9, President Bush asked Congress to increase the U.S. commitment to a total of $950 million. Officials estimate that billions of dollars will be needed. In mid-March, the Asian Development Bank reported that over USD 4 billion in aid promised by governments was behind schedule. Sri Lanka reported that it had received no foreign government aid, while foreign individuals had been generous .
The impact on coastal fishing communities and fisherfolk, some of the poorest people in the region, has been devastating with high losses of income earners as well as boats and fishing gear . In Sri Lanka's coastal areas, for example, artisanal fishery is an important source of fish for local markets and industrial fishery is the major economic activity, providing direct employment to about 250 000 people. In recent years the fishery industry has emerged as a dynamic export-oriented sector, generating substantial foreign exchange earnings. Preliminary estimates indicate that 66 percent of the fishing fleet and industrial infrastructure in coastal regions have been destroyed by the wave surges, which will have adverse economic effects both at local and national levels .
But some economists believe that damage to the affected countries' economies will be minor because losses in the tourism and fishing industries are a relatively small percentage of the GDP. However, others caution that damage to infrastructure is an overriding factor. In some areas, drinking water supplies and farm fields may have been contaminated for years by salt water from the ocean .
Both the earthquake and the tsunami may have affected shipping in the Malacca Straits by changing the depth of the seabed and by disturbing navigational buoys and old shipwrecks. Compiling new navigational charts may take months or years..
Countries in the region appealed to tourists to return, pointing out that most tourist infrastructure is undamaged. However, tourists were reluctant to do so for psychological reasons. Even resorts on the Pacific coast of Thailand, which were completely untouched, were hit by cancellations .
Tsunami Inundation, North of Phuket, Thailand ASTER Images and SRTM Elevation Model
Beyond the heavy toll on human lives, the Indian Ocean earthquake has caused an enormous environmental impact that will affect the region for many years to come. It has been reported that severe damage has been inflicted on ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs, forests, coastal wetlands, vegetation, sand dunes and rock formations, animal and plant biodiversity and groundwater. In addition, the spread of solid and liquid waste and industrial chemicals, water pollution and the destruction of sewage collectors and treatment plants threaten the environment even further, in untold ways. The environmental impact will take a long time and significant resources to assess .
According to specialists , the main effect is being caused by poisoning of the fresh water supplies and the soil by salt water infiltration and deposit of a salt layer over arable land. It has been reported that in the Maldives, 16 to 17 coral reef atolls that were overcome by sea waves are totally without fresh water and could be rendered uninhabitable for decades. Uncountable wells that served communities were invaded by sea, sand and earth; and aquifers were invaded through porous rock. Salted-over soil becomes sterile, and it is difficult and costly to restore for agriculture. It also causes the death of plants and important soil micro-organisms. Thousands of rice, mango and banana plantations in Sri Lanka were destroyed almost entirely and will take years to recover.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is working with governments of the region in order to determine the severity of the ecological impact and how to address them . UNEP has decided also to earmark a USD 1,000,000 emergency fund and to establish a Task Force with this aim. In response to a request from the Maldivian Government, the Australian Government sent ecological experts to help restore marine environments and coral reefs - the lifeblood of Maldivian tourism. Much of the ecological expertise has been rendered from work with the Great Barrier Reef, in Australia's north-eastern waters.
Many health professionals and aid workers have reported widespread psychological trauma associated with the tsunami, and many sightings of ghosts have been reported, particularly those of foreigners. Traditional beliefs in many of the affected regions state that a relative of the family must bury the body of the dead or the ghost will return. Some psychologists interpret this as evidence of psychological trauma.
Some religious groups asserted that the tsunami was God's punishment for sex tourism or other sinful activities in southeast Asia, but this attracted considerable controversy and opposition (see the scandal provoked by the conservative Moroccan newspaper Attajdid; see also this article). In any case the hardest hit area, Aceh, is considered to be a religiously conservative Islamic society and has had no tourism or Western presence at all in recent years due to armed conflict between the Indonesian military and Acehnese separatists.
Shortly after the tsunami took place, the Al-Osboa' newsweekly in Egypt alleged that the tsunami could have been caused by an Indian nuclear experiment in which Israeli and American nuclear experts participated. Al-Osboa' further alleged that India, in its heated nuclear race with Pakistan, has lately sophisticated nuclear know-how from the United States and Israel, both of which "showed readiness to cooperate with India in experiments to exterminate humankind," beginning with the heavily populated Muslim regions of southeast Asia, where the bulk of casualties took place.
Conspiracy theories are not uncommon after natural disasters, but this one is particularly implausible, since even the estimated 5000 megatons of destructive power in the entire world's combined nuclear arsenal is but a small fraction of the energy required to create the Boxing Day quake.
In what may be the only positive note of the tsunami, the water washed away centuries of sand from some of the ruins of a 1200 year old lost city at Mahabalipuram on the south coast of India.
October 29th, 2005, 06:02 AM
any pics of the Tsunami pls post here :D thank q
October 29th, 2005, 06:06 AM
Brought to u By : Encon
Special Thanks to Wikipedia.org
October 29th, 2005, 06:14 AM
^^ why did you double post?
October 29th, 2005, 10:55 AM
^^ why did you double post?
see the 1st double post it is Pictures
while the 2nd one is Website btw u all can post just ignore the rules
November 12th, 2005, 06:11 AM
post some here lah anything related :D lloks so empty :(
any pics, Info welcome :D