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Indian Ocean 2004
Tsunami in the Indian Ocean

map of indonesia

The earthquake ocean floor rupture or deformation region was an incredible 1200 kilometers long with three sub-faults stretched along the Nicobar Islands to northern Indonesia earthquake subduction zone. There was a massive underwater fault displacement or movement of the ocean floor of about 15 meters, which generated the tsunami waves. At least nine countries were affected by the tsunami.
Hawaii has had a long history with tsunami events therefore the state has an extensive warning system in place. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center is operated by the US and involves 26 countries that may send gauge data and receive watch and warning messages. It is unfortunate that so many lives have been lost to remind us in Hawaii not to be complacent.
With no recorded history of an Indian Ocean wide destructive tsunami, no Tsunami Warning System existed for Indian Ocean nations. No Tsunami Warning System means there were few or no seismometer instruments present to rapidly and accurately detect an earthquake; little or no tide gauges present in the Indian Ocean to track and measure tsunami waves near the epicenter and at a distance from the epicenter, no forecast tsunami models; no emergency communications plan to warn Indian Ocean nations of the generation of a potentially destructive tsunami; and little or no knowledge of the responsibilities of nations to warn and evacuate the public.

To read a tsunami survivor's story from the Maldives Islands click here. To read about a Pacific Tsunami Museum event with Kimina Lyall a journalist, author and 2004 tsunami survivor click here.

The Pacific Tsunami Museum extends our condolences to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy.



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Last Revised November 2007