The December 26, 2004 Sumatran Tsunami

NOAA On the morning of December 26, 2004 a magnitude 9.3 earthquake struck off the Northwest coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The earthquake resulted from complex slip on the fault where the oceanic portion of the Indian Plate slides under Sumatra, part of the Eurasian Plate. The earthquake deformed the ocean floor, pushing the overlying water up into a tsunami wave. The tsunami wave devastated nearby areas where the wave may have been as high as 25 meters (80 feet) tall and killed nearly 300,000 people from nations in the region and tourists from around the world. The tsunami wave itself also traveled the globe, and was measured in the Pacific and many other places by tide gauges. Measurements in California exceeded 40 cm in height, while New Jersey saw water level fluctuations as great as 34 cm. Eyewitness accounts, photos, and videos provided unprecidented documentation of the event. To prepare for future tsunamis, we encourage everyone to educate themselves about what they can do now, and in the event that they should ever be threatened by a tsunami.

Other links for the Sumatra Tsunami: - Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis web page detailing the Sumatra tsunami. Well presented in easily readable terms with good graphics and illustrations. KID-FRIENDLY! NOAA's web link compilation of links for the Sumatra tsunami includes: Field Survey, Sea Level, Satellite and Seismic Data, Model Simulations as well as links for photographs and video.

Frequently asked questions about the Sumatra Tsunami