Essay on The Tsunami Disaster

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The Tsunami Disaster At 0059 GMT on 26 December 2004, a magnitude 9.3 earthquake ripped apart the seafloor off the coast of northwest Sumatra.

Over 100 years of accumulated stress was released in the second biggest earthquake in recorded history.

It unleashed a devastating tsunami that travelled thousands of kilometres across the Indian Ocean, taking the lives of nearly 300,000 people in countries as far apart as Indonesia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Somalia.

THE EARTHQUAKE

Two hundred and forty kilometres (150 miles) off the coast of Sumatra, deep under the ocean floor, at the boundary between two of the world's tectonic plates, lay a 1,200km (745
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"We were astonished to find ourselves walking through a pristine marine ecosystem, missing only its multitude of colours, its fish, and its water," said Professor Kerry Sieh, from the California Institute of Technology, US.

Yet, when the shaking from the earthquake subsided, no-one had any idea that the tremors had set in motion something far more deadly - a tsunami.

THE TSUNAMI

Deep under the Indian Ocean, at the epicentre of the quake, the 20m (65ft) upward thrust of the seafloor set in motion a series of geological events that were to devastate the lives of millions.

Billions of tonnes of seawater, forced upward by the movement of the seabed now flowed away from the fault in a series of giant waves.

The only people in the world to have any idea what had happened were thousands of kilometres away on the island of Hawaii.

But, relying on seismic data alone, the scientists at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre had no idea the earthquake had unleashed an ocean-wide tsunami.

It was a full 50 minutes after they first picked up the tremors that they issued a warning of a possible local tsunami.

Thirty minutes after the shaking had subsided, the first wave, travelling eastwards, crashed into Sumatra.

On the shores directly facing the epicentre, the waves reached heights of 20m (65ft), stripping vegetation from mountain sides 800m (0.5 mile) inland,
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