Earth Science Massive Tsunami Kills Over 11,000, Updated Toll Now 234,000

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by helenheaven, Dec 26, 2004.

  1. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    One of the most powerful earthquakes in history has hit Asia, unleashing a tsunami which devastated coastal areas of Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia and tourist isles in Thailand, killing more than 11,300 people.

    The tsunami, a menacing wall of water, wreaked death, chaos and destruction across southern Asia on Sunday. Up to 10 metres high, the tsunami was triggered by an 8.9 magnitude underwater earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

    "It was a terrible sight," Jayaram Jayalalithaa, chief minister of Tamil Nadu state, said after touring areas of India, where 3,000 people were killed. "I could see dead bodies all around and the devastation is of colossal proportions."

    Emergency services struggled around the region popular with Western tourists flying east for Christmas sunshine. Some areas were totally unprepared and tourists found their holidays turned into disaster zones while anxious families at home awaited news.

    In Sri Lanka, where the death toll reached 3,500, corpses floated in floodwaters, while thousands fled their homes and cars floated out to sea. Idyllic beaches were turned into fields of debris and destruction. Around 750,000 people were displaced.

    "I think this is the worst-ever natural disaster in Sri Lanka," N.D. Hettiarachchi, director of the National Disaster Management Centre, said of the effects of the earthquake, the worst for 40 years and the fifth biggest since 1900.

    The worst-hit area appeared to be the tourist regions of the south and east where beach hotels were inundated or swept away.

    Local media reported landmines sown during Sri Lanka's two decade civil war had been uprooted and spread by floods. Others used the mayhem to loot shops and houses, police said.

    In Indonesia, where 4,422 were listed as killed, raging waters dragged villagers out to sea and tore children from their parents' arms.

    Wailing relatives gathered around bodies in the south of India. Beaches were littered with submerged cars and wrecked boats. Shanties on the coast of Madras were under water.

    "The whole area has been turned into a cemetery," Chellappa, a 55-year-old fisherman in Madras, said. Television pictures showed bodies floating in turbulent, muddy seas.

    Nightmare Stories

    Tourists had nightmare stories.

    French holidaymaker Philippe Gilbert, at a hotel near Tangalle in the south of Sri Lanka, told private channel LCI:

    "I've lost my granddaughter in all of this. I was swept away by an absolutely massive wave ... I was lucky enough to get stuck in some trees and was able to hold my breath," he said.

    "This is one of the largest earthquakes ever on record. The situation in Sri Lanka is extremely serious," Peter Rees, of the International Federation of the Red Cross in Geneva, told CNN.

    "I just couldn't believe what was happening before my eyes," Boree Carlsson said from a hotel near Phuket's Patong beach in Thailand. "As I was standing there, a car actually floated into the lobby and overturned because the current was so strong," said the 45-year-old Swede.

    "Nothing like this has ever happened in our country before," said Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand where the death toll was 310.

    "Death tolls are likely to increase over time," Titon Mitra, emergency response director for the CARE aid agency in Geneva, said. "I'm sure the numbers will go up."

    The earthquake of magnitude 8.9 as measured by the U.S. Geological Survey struck at 7:59 a.m. (00.59 a.m. British time) off Sumatra and swung north with tremors into the Andaman islands.

    A warning centre such as those used along the Pacific Rim could have saved most of the thousands of people who died, A USGS official said. "And I think this will be a lesson to them," he said, referring to the devastated countries.

    Pope John Paul said the tragedy made for a sad Christmas.

    Sri Lanka'S Worst Disaster

    Sri Lanka appealed to the world for aid, saying that one million people, or 5 percent of its population, were affected. The global Red Cross launched an immediate emergency appeal.

    India feared a devastating toll along its southeastern coast. In the state of Tamil Nadu alone, an official said at least 1,705 had been killed. Rescuers were searching for hundreds of missing fishermen and thousands were homeless.

    Television footage showed bodies, including young girls, being thrown into trucks in Madras, capital of Tamil Nadu state.

    Hundreds fled to higher ground with pots, pans and other meagre possessions. People carried bodies in hessian sacks to hospitals where dozens of dead already lined the corridors.

    In Andhra Pradesh, about 400 fishermen were feared missing and 200 Hindu devotees who had gone to the beach for a holy dip in the morning were feared dead.

    Almost 500 tourists were stranded on a rock in the sea off India's southernmost tip, witnesses said.

    In the Maldives, none of the thousands of foreign visitors holidaying in the beach paradise, was believed to have been killed although some had suffered minor injuries.

    In holiday islands off southern Thailand, emergency workers rescued about 70 Thai and foreign divers from the famed Emeral Cave and dozens were evacuated from around other islands. Two Thais were killed at Emeral cave.

    Officials said more than 600 tourists and residents were to be evacuated from Ko Phi Phi. The tiny island made famous by the 2000 film "The Beach" starring Leonardo DiCaprio was flattened.

    The Thai government ordered the evacuation of stricken coastal areas, which included popular beach resorts on the islands of Phuket and Krabi. Thousands were injured in Thailand.

    Ring Of Fire

    Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire where volcanoes regularly erupt.

    The worst affected area was Banda Aceh, the capital of Aceh province, where 3,000 were killed. More than 200 prisoners escaped from a jail when the tsunami knocked down its walls.

    The earthquake was the world's biggest since 1964, said Julie Martinez, at the USGS in Golden, Colorado. "It is multiple earthquakes along the same faultline."

    The tsunami, meaning "harbour wave" in Japanese, was so powerful it reached across the ocean to smash boats and flood areas along the east African coast.
  2. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    This was certainly terrible. Well, a mag of 8.9 is just wacky! It makes me wonder what is happening. I brought this up a while ago about the numerous quakes here in Japan. they have been ongoing and people are worried. Mt. Asama has been active again. Now, this happens... Makes ya wonder about the Ring Of Firea area.
  3. bodebliss

    bodebliss The Zoc-La of Kromm-B Premium Member

    The government didnt care enough about it's people to monitor a subduction fault that dived right under Sri Lanka's coastline.

    Now that's the real mystery.
  4. DreamLandMafia

    DreamLandMafia Premium Member

    Thats pretty strong, still Alaska is #2 tho with 9.2!! (Damn Chile with its 9.5) :pbjtime:

    There has been some really freaky weather as of late. Snow in Texas and Mexico, quakes all over the places, blazing hot weather in my hometown in Alaska. All so strange.

    [Edited on 27-12-2004 by DreamLandMafia]
  5. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    Well, not much anyone can do about an 8.9 Earthquake. The tsunami will be devastating and quite quick in that area. If Japan had an Earthquake that size, then Hawaii would be in deep water.. literally. Here is a volcano on the island of La Palma in the Canaries archipelago that could destabalize by an earthquake and devastate the whole East Coast of America.

    I think that if a country is over a fault that big, the whole country is in trouble. Just like I had a few friends complaining about building codes here in Japan after houses collapsed after the last 6.0 earth quake. We could feel it all the way over here on the East side of Japan and it almost knocked a few pics off the wall. If it was that strong here, imagine what it will do over on the other side. No building code can really stand up to it. Now, imagine a 8.9... UGGGGGHHHH. There is not a building code in the world that could withstand it and a wall of water is extremely powerful.
  6. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    the death toll is still climbing....

    this is so horrible....

    think 9 /11 x 5 ..okay not man made but just as heart wrenching...
  7. Zsandmann

    Zsandmann Premium Member

    It has been upgraded, they now say it was a 9.0 and the 4th largest recorded quake in geological monitoring history. Glad to see yall discussing this, I wish I could input more but Ive been so busy.
  8. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

  9. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    I've been following this story everseince Helen posted it yesterday morning. I have to say Good job posting this so quickly. This was the first place I saw the info. I hadn't heard it anywhere else until another 4 hours. I was still in shock that this could have happened until I heard it elseware.
    I just keep on hearing the death toll go up. BUT what aggervates me even more is the fact that so many people I talk to still don't know this has happend. :mad:

    I clicked JC'c link to an older ID post and i saw I posted this on October 3rd. I'm sure hundreds of others saw that somethign like this was highly plausiable in the given conditions.

    BloodBliss- Why blame the goverments? Most of the places hit hardest were 3rd world areas. they had no idea fr the most part. And this thing was movind at 300+ MPH with out a car there is no way even 1/3 of the people could have escaped in time. It's just a tradgey of chance.

    [Edited on 12/28/2004 by Mizar]
  10. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    wow, Mizar, interesting you made that is something you might find interesting..

    NZ quakes may be linked to giant jolt abroad
    27 December 2004

    A cluster of earthquakes that hit New Zealand in the last 48 hours may be related to the massive jolt which hit Indonesia last night, a seismologist says.

    Four earthquakes have shaken the country since early on Christmas Eve, when a massive tremor measuring 8.1 on the Richter scale struck under the south Tasman Sea.

    Before last night's Indonesian earthquake, the Tasman jolt was the biggest in the world since 2001.

    Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science seismologist Dr Warwick Smith said last night that a possibility existed that the earthquake that hit Indonesia was related to a flurry of seismic activity in New Zealand, but making the link was complex.

    "In a very general sense, they could be related, but not in terms that we actually understand. Earthquakes are happening all the time around the world, but whether the plate movement is linked is too difficult to know," Smith said.

    "The islands where this quake happened have been the site of big earthquakes in the past – but 8.5 (later upgraded to 8.9) is very big and definitely the biggest to strike anywhere for some time."

    Smith said the run of seismic activity, particularly in the South Island of New Zealand, in the last two days was not unusual.

    Information from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS) showed the biggest earthquake was centred 430km west of the Auckland Islands, south-west of New Zealand, at a depth of 10km, on Friday morning. It measured 8.1 on the Richter scale.

    On Friday night, Christmas Eve festivities in Ranfurly were briefly interrupted by a small earthquake.

    The tremor, measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale, struck at 9.44pm and was "very noticeable", one holidaymaker said. The earthquake was centred 10km south of Ranfurly at a depth of 12km.

    A third earthquake was felt in North Canterbury on Saturday morning, measuring 3.5. It was centred 10km west of Greta Valley at a depth of 12km. The fourth struck south-west of Haast, at 10.05am yesterday. It measured 3.2.
  11. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    Could this be the start of something big? Z probably understands it alot better. I mean for the past 2 months, Japan has been overly active, now this, now we read about your area? hmmmmm

    What amazes me is that it was a 33 to 40 foot wall of water coming towards them!
  12. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    and Mt St Helens...
  13. JcMinJapan

    JcMinJapan Premium Member

    Here are a few interesting remarks from this article:

    NEWSWEEK: Is it true that this quake shook the entire world?
    Gianluca Valensise: After a major earthquake, the whole world resonates like a bell that has been struck. It lasts for several hours after the main shock. But what’s more intriguing is that a big piece of the planet’s mass has been moved around. This actually altered the axis of the earth’s rotation.

    What about other events, like say the detonation of a nuclear bomb?
    This quake was more powerful. It has been calculated that the energy released on Sunday was 23,000 times that of the explosion of the nuclear bomb at Hiroshima (Japan). A large portion of the earth’s crust—1,000 km (620 miles) in length by 100 km (62 miles) in width running from Western Sumatra to Myanmar—moved. And that is where they are feeling the aftershocks now.

    How fast can such a wave go?
    In the open ocean, it can travel as fast as 800 kilometers (500 miles) per hour—like a commercial airplane—so it took two or three hours. This leaves time for a system to warn people, but there wasn’t one in place.

    Could we see another huge earthquake in the near future?
    This was so large that it consumed all of the stored energy in the area. We are recording aftershocks, but no one is expecting another humongous one.

    What are the most likely spots for another monster quake or a tsunami?
    The ring around Sumatra toward the east and Japan. It is where the largest tsunamis in the world strike. The region where 95 percent of the earth’s seismic activity is released and where there are the most active volcanoes is part of a band spanning from Myanmar, around Sumatra to the southeast toward the Sea of Japan, Alaska and the Western U.S., and then south toward New Zealand.
  14. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    JCM, I think you and I had better move elsewhere!

    Some interesting comments there, especially in regard to shifting on the earths axis of rotation, wow!

    I understand over 1000 kilometres of the seabed has been raised 30 metres, quite phenomenal
  15. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    other killer tsunamis

    here's some facts for ya!

    The most damaging tsunami in history was the one that killed an estimated 40,000 people in 1782 following an earthquake in the South China Sea. In 1883 some 36,500 people were killed by tsunamis in the South Java Sea, following the eruption of Indonesia's Krakatoa volcano. In northern Chile more than 25,000 people were killed by a tsunami in 1868.

    • The Pacific is by far the most active tsunami zone, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). But tsunamis have been generated in other bodies of water, including the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, and the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. North Atlantic tsunamis included the tsunami associated with the 1775 Lisbon earthquake that killed as many as 60,000 people in Portugal, Spain, and North Africa. This quake caused a tsunami as high as 23 feet (7 meters) in the Caribbean.

    • The Caribbean has been hit by 37 verified tsunamis since 1498. Some were generated locally and others were the result of events far away, such as the earthquake near Portugal. The combined death toll from these Caribbean tsunamis is about 9,500.

    wow, 60, 000 people in 1775....amazing
  16. Mizar

    Mizar Premium Member

    Suppsoably the Island closest to the epicenter of the indoasia quake that this is all about moved 100 feet from its origonal position! I'm not sure if thats true or not but thats something I heard. Its scary when you think about all of this. I mean IT SNOWED IN SOUTH LOUISIANA ON CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!

    I could get worried soon....
  17. tablet

    tablet Premium Member

    I didn't know that this happened. Such a horrible thing to happen to those country. I wish I can reach out and give them a hand, but my aren't aren't that long....

    What can we learn from this?
  18. helenheaven

    helenheaven Premium Member

    Here are what some countries are doing to help:


    Countries around the globe have stepped forward with pledges of cash and assistance to the victims of the southern Asian earthquake and tsunami disaster.

    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Monday it would take "many billions of dollars" for rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts.

    The following is a list of contributions pledged, as compiled from reports by Reuters bureaus and UN agencies.

    AUSTRALIA: Australia sent four transport planes with supplies and medical specialists to the western Indonesian island of Sumatra and committed US$7.6 million to the effort.

    BELGIUM: The government is flying 22 tonnes of aid from Medecins Sans Frontieres and UNICEF to Sri Lanka.

    BRITAIN: London sent an aircraft with plastic sheets and tents worth 250,000 pounds (US$481,500) to Sri Lanka. It said it was contributing 370,000 pounds to the EU aid effort and a further $100,000 to the World Health Organization.

    CANADA: Canada said it would make an initial contribution of 1 million Canadian dollars ($814,300) to an appeal for some US$6.5 million by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

    CHINA: China said it would airlift emergency aid to stricken countries.

    CZECH REPUBLIC: Prague dispatched a plane to Sri Lanka with drinking water. Officials said US$444,400 in aid would be sent.

    EUROPEAN UNION: The European Commission pledged 3 million euros (US$4.06 million) and said it could mobilize up to 30 million euros for rapid distribution to aid groups.

    FRANCE: Foreign Minister Michel Barnier is heading to Sri Lanka and Thailand on a flight carrying aid. Paris has earmarked 100,000 euros for initial rescue efforts in Thailand and has sent a plane with about 100 rescue workers and five tonnes of aid to Sri Lanka.

    GERMANY: Germany said it was contributing 1 million euros of emergency aid to the international effort and taking part in the EU program. It sent a disaster relief team to Sri Lanka.

    GREECE: Greece has offered Sri Lanka medical assistance including 17 doctors and staff.

    ISRAEL: Israel sent a medical team with medicines and equipment to Sri Lanka and another to Thailand. It plans to send a military search and rescue team to Sri Lanka Tuesday.

    JAPAN: Tokyo sent an emergency medical team to Sri Lanka and a damage assessment group to Indonesia.

    KUWAIT: The Kuwaiti cabinet agreed to send aid supplies worth $1 million to the affected region.

    NETHERLANDS: The Netherlands said it was contributing 2 million euros to the Red Cross-Red Crescent appeal, above and beyond its participation in the overall EU program.

    SINGAPORE: Singapore said it would contribute around US$1.2 million to the global effort, and had armed forces medical teams and relief supplies ready to fly to Indonesia.

    SPAIN: Madrid was sending a plane with first aid and sanitary equipment to Sri Lanka. It promised 1 million euros for aid and planes and was considering sending specialists to help distribution.

    SWEDEN: Sweden sent two communications specialists to help UN relief efforts in Sri Lanka, and planned to ship tents and communications equipment to the Maldives. The Swedish Red Cross said it would contribute US$750,000 to the global IFRC appeal.

    UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: The government pledged US$2 million in aid and its Red Crescent was planning to send three plane-loads of aid to India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka Tuesday.

    UNITED STATES: Washington said it would give an initial US$15 million in aid and had already released US$100,000 each to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. It said the US Pacific Command sent three patrol aircraft to assess damage.

    IMF: The head of the International Monetary Fund said he intended to provide assistance, but did not specify.

    UNHCR: The UN refugee agency said it was providing homeless in Sri Lanka with 18,000 pieces of plastic sheeting, 17,000 plastic mats, rope and nonfood relief packages for 2,000 families.

    UNICEF: The UN children's agency was distributing clothing and more than 30,000 blankets and sleeping mats in Sri Lanka and 1,600 water tanks, 30,000 blankets, medical supplies and hundreds of thousands of water purification pills in India. Similar supplies would soon be heading to Indonesia and the Maldives.

    UN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM: The UNDP provided US$100,000 each to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, the Maldives and Thailand to help them assess and coordinate emergency needs.

    UN POPULATION FUND: The fund said it earmarked up to US$1 million and extra staff to help ensure that the special health needs of pregnant and nursing women were met. ($1=.5192 Pound) ($1=1.228 Canadian Dollar) ($1=.7386 Euro)
  19. masqua

    masqua Member

    I pulled this url off a thread in ATS and figured it might be helpful to this thread as well.

    Seismic Monitor. A colorful, interactive map of the latest earthquakes and much more.

    It's a global map showing recent (today) quakes in red, yesterdays in orange and older in yellow. You can easily see the aftershocks are quite strong in the Indian Ocean.

    I have this on my desktop for a quick view anytime I log on...

  20. masqua

    masqua Member

    Hmmm...sorry, I should be giving credit to Cargo for supplying this map to us.