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Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004)

  • By: Lynn Letukas
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

On December 26, 2004, an earthquake registering 9.3 on the Richter scale ripped open the ocean floor in the Sunda Trench 160 kilometers (100 miles) off the western coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The earthquake was the second largest ever recorded on a seismograph, with the largest occurring in Valdivia, Chile, in 1960. The magnitude of the earthquake was 9.0, resulting in the fourth-largest-magnitude earthquake in the world since 1900, and the largest since the Alaskan earthquake in 1964. The earthquake resulted from a shift in the India plate under the Burma plate, which the U.S. Geological Survey estimates created a rupture on the sea floor almost 62 miles in width and up to 700–900 miles in length. The sea floor overlying the thrust fault is ...

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