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Earthquake Hazards Program

Earthquake Summary

Summary of the Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake
and Tsunami of 26 December 2004

Intensity Information
Casualties and Damage
Tsunami Heights
Principal Sources of Information

This is the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake. The earthquake itself caused severe damage and casualties in northern Sumatra, Indonesia and in the Nicobar Islands, India. The earthquake casualties are included with the tsunami statistics below.

The earthquake was felt at the following selected localities:

    IndonesiaIX at Banda Aceh
    VIIIat Meulaboh
    IV at Medan and Sampali
    III at Bukittinggi, Parapat and Payakumbuh
    Feltat Jakarta
    IndiaVII at Port Blair, Andaman Islands
    IV at Madras
    III at Bengaluru and Vishakhapatnam
    Feltat Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Calcutta and Kochi
    MalaysiaV at Gelugor Estate
    IV at Sungai Ara
    III at Alor Setar, George Town, Kampong Tanjong Bunga, Kuala Lumpur and Kulim
    ThailandV at Hat Yai
    IV at Bangkok
    III at Chiang Mai and Phuket
    MyanmarIV at Mandalay
    III at Rangoon
    SingaporeII on Singapore
    BangladeshIII at Dhaka
    Feltat Chittagong
    Sri LankaII at Kandy and in other parts of Sri Lanka
    MaldivesIV at Male (nearly 2500 km from the epicenter)
    GuamFelt by people in a high rise building at Hagatna (more than 5400 km from the epicenter)

The tsunami from this earthquake caused extreme destruction in South Asia, was recorded nearly world-wide and killed more people than any tsunami in recorded history. In total, at least 283,100 people were killed, 14,100 are missing and 1,126,900 were displaced by the earthquake and tsunami:

At least 108,100 people were killed, 127,700 are missing and presumed dead and 426,800 were displaced by the earthquake and tsunami in Aceh and Sumatera Utara Provinces, Indonesia. About 70 percent of the small-scale fishing fleet was destroyed. Tsunami runup heights of more than 30 meters were observed along the west coast of Sumatra.

At least 30,900 people were killed, 5,400 missing and 552,600 displaced by the tsunami in Sri Lanka, where wave heights were estimated to be 5-10 meters. About 66 percent of the fishing fleet was destroyed and 10 of 12 major fishing harbors in the country had some damage.

At least 10,700 people were killed, 5,600 missing and 112,500 displaced in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Wave heights were estimated to be more than 20 meters in the Andaman Islands and 10 meters on the east coast of India.

At least 5,300 people were killed, 8,400 injured and 3,100 missing along the west coast of Thailand, where wave heights were estimated to be as high as 3-5 meters in the Phuket area.

The tsunami also caused casualties and/or damage in the following countries:

    Somaliaat least 150 people killed and about 5,000 displaced.
    Maldives82 people killed, 26 missing and more than 21,600 displaced.
    Malaysia68 people killed, 6 missing and about 4,200 displaced.
    Myanmar90 people killed, 10 missing and 3,200 displaced.
    Tanzania10 people killed.
    Seychelles3 people killed.
    Bangladesh2 people killed.
    Kenya1 person killed.
    Madagascarabout 1,000 people displaced.
    Mauritiussome damage.
    Mozambiquetsunami was observed, but no damage reported.

In Australia, the tsunami caused minor damage at Geraldton and Mangles Bay. A 30 centimeter wave was observed at Penguin Island. People were swept into the ocean at Delambre Island and Geographe Bay, but all survived. The tsunami was observed at Busselton.

Maximum tsunami heights, peak-to-trough in centimeters, were recorded at the following selected tide stations:

    Indian Ocean:
    Kochi, India130
    Tuticorin, India210
    Vishakhapatnam, India240
    Diego Garcia, Chagos Archipelago80
    Colombo, Sri Lanka260
    Salalah, Oman250
    Lamu, Kenya120
    Zanzibar, Tanzania80
    Male, Maldives210
    Port Louis, Mauritius210
    Port Elizabeth, South Africa273
    Richards Bay, South Africa165
    East Ongul Island, Antarctica75
    Cocos Island, Australia42
    Esperance, Western Australia, Australia80
    Hillarys, Western Australia, Australia90
    Portland, Victoria, Australia85
    Mid-ocean, about 5 S,
    SSE of Sri Lanka
    (from Jason 1 satellite altimeter)
    approx. 100
    Atlantic Ocean:
    Imbituba,Brazilapprox. 150
    Pacific Ocean:
    Rosslyn Bay, Queensland, Australia25
    Spring Bay, Tasmania, Australia60
    Chatham Island, New Zealand35
    Jackson Bay, South Island, New Zealand 65
    Napier, North Island, New Zealand30
    Timaru, South Island, New Zealand 80
    Port Vila, Vanuatu15
    Nukualofa, Tonga10
    Suva, Fiji11
    Pago Pago, American Samoa10
    Nuku Hiva, French Polynesia5
    Noumea, New Caledonia10
    Severo-Kurilsk, Russia29
    Bella Bella, British Columbia, Canada9
    Tofino, British Columbia, Canada15
    Adak, Alaska, U.S.21
    Sand Point, Alaska, U.S.28
    Crescent City, California, U.S.61
    Point Reyes, California, U.S.39
    Port San Luis, California, U.S.53
    San Diego, California, U.S.32
    Hilo, Hawaii, U.S.18
    Kahului, Hawaii, U.S.30
    Neah Bay, Washington, U.S.13
    Cabo San Lucas, Mexico24
    Manzanillo, Mexico80
    Acajutla, El Salvador32
    Baltra Island, Galapagos, Ecuador36
    Callao, Peru68
    Arica, Chile72
    Puerto Williams, Chile29
    Valparaiso, Chile18

K. Abe has computed a tsunami magnitude (Mt) of 9.1 for this event.

Landslides and approximately 2 meters of subsidence were observed in Sumatra. A mud volcano became active near Baratang, Andaman Islands on December 28. Gas emissions were reported in Arakan, Myanmar. Seiches occurred in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal, India and as far away as Tulsa County, Oklahoma, United States. Water level fluctuations occurred in wells as far away as Florida, Nebraska and Virginia, United States.

Principal sources:


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