Click on image for full size
Earthquake in the Indian Ocean Causes a Massive Tsunami
News story originally written on January 5, 2005
On the morning of December 26th, 2004, an enormous earthquake occurred below the Indian Ocean, 150 km west of an Indonesian island called Sumatra. The earthquake was caused by moving tectonic plates and was the most powerful to occur on our planet in the past 40 years. The earthquake caused part of the sea floor to rise about 10 meters. The seawater above was pushed up and formed huge tsunami waves that spread across the ocean.
The huge waves moved quickly across the ocean before hitting land. The waves caused a huge amount of destruction to towns and resorts along the coast. Over 150,000 people were killed as the tsunami waves hit the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and the east coast of Africa. There was very little time to sound alarms and get people away from the coast.
The more you know about how the Earth works, the more you can keep yourself and others as safe as possible from natural disasters. We at Windows to the Universe would like to congratulate Tilly Smith, a 10-year-old British girl who used her knowledge about how tsunamis works to save 100 people during the event. Tilly learned about tsunamis at school two weeks before the tsunami hit where her family was vacationing in Phuket, Thailand. She saw the water drawing out quickly from the shore and remembered that this can happen before a tsunami wave hits the coast. Thanks to Tilly, her mother, and the hotel staff, everyone was cleared off the beach minutes before the wave arrived.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
The expression “on solid ground” is often used to describe something as stable. Usually the solid ground underfoot seems very stable. But sometimes it is not. "The ground seemed to twist under us like...more
The main force that shapes our planet’s surface over long amounts of time is the movement of Earth's outer layer by the process of plate tectonics. This picture shows how the rigid outer layer of the...more
There will be an eclipse of the Moon on Wednesday night, October 27, 2004 (or during the wee hours of the morning on the 28th if you are in Europe or Africa). This eclipse is a total eclipse of the Moon,...more
Scientists have recently discovered that thousands of Adelie Penguins thrive in patches of the chilly Southern Ocean near Antarctica's coastline. In these special areas of the ocean, called polynyas,...more
Scientists have learned that Mount Hood, Oregon's tallest mountain, has erupted in the past due to the mixing of two different types of magma. "The data will help give us a better road map to what a future...more
The Earth's mantle is a rocky, solid shell that is between the Earth's crust and the outer core, and makes up about 84 percent of the Earth's volume. The mantle is made up of many distinct portions or...more
Some geologic faults that appear strong and stable, slip and slide like weak faults, causing earthquakes. Scientists have been looking at one of these faults in a new way to figure out why. In theory,...more