The Devastating Tsunami Of 2004 Essay

1531 Words Oct 30th, 2015 null Page
December 26th, 2004 marks the day a 9.1-9.3 magnitude earthquake triggered arguably the deadliest tsunami of the twenty-first century. The 1,300 km fault zone spawned a wave reaching fifty meters in height and five meters inland. Fourteen countries worldwide lost an estimated 230,000 people [Geist et al., 2015] and a devastating ten billion dollars to the colossal Indian Ocean swell. The devastation kick started efforts to create better technology and innovations so that when the next disaster struck, humanity would be prepared. What is important to know is what actually causes a tsunami to occur, specifically the one in 2004. “Seismologists believe the sudden change in the seafloor terrain is what triggers a tsunami.” [Folger, 1984], meaning that a shift in the ocean floor stimulates a massive wave or waves in the ocean. What happened in 2004 was a chain of events starting with an earthquake in the oceanic crust underneath the Indian Ocean. This 9.1 quake was so powerful that the energy was used to move the fault lines it effected. The location is key to understanding how the tsunami was so destructive. Sumatra sits at the divide between the Burma and Indian plates. What occurred in late December of 2004 was that the Burma plate subducted under the Indian plate. The “slip along the subduction fault during the 26 December earthquake is estimated at fifteen and twenty-five meters” [Cassidy, 2015]. The faulting its self was unprecedented because it lasted between eight…

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