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The Boxing Day Tsunami

Updated on October 9, 2012

The Boxing Day Tsunami

The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Boxing Day Tsunami happened on 26 December 2004 and is considered one of the deadliest natural disasters in history. Due to a 9.3 magnitude earthquake (the second strongest earthquake ever recorded) and lasting between 8-10 minutes (the longest duration of faulting in history), it created a mega tsunami and triggered a few other smaller earthquakes, one as far away as Alaska. The earthquake caused a significant vibration throughout the entire planet and caused massive destruction in over 15 different countries and fatalities with nationalities from throughout the globe have been reported as a result of the mega disaster.

Boxing Day Tsunami

Boxing Day Tsunami
Boxing Day Tsunami

The Earthquake that took about 230,000 lives in total is considered the second deadliest earthquake in recorded history and happened just off Simeulue Island in the Indian Ocean, 30km below sea level. The earthquake caused plenty of other aftershocks including an 8.7 magnitude aftershock triggered earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Smaller aftershocks reading an average of 6 in magnitude rocked the region daily for as much as three months after the 9.3 quake. The earthquake not only caused substantial differences to the land in the region, it produced a permanent rise in global sea level by at least 0.1mm and also caused the activation of the once-inactive volcano in Indonesia, Leuser Mountain.

In essence, though the earthquake was tremendous in power (it was estimated that total energy produced by the earthquake measured to about almost 10,000 gigatons of TNT, or 370 years of energy used by the entire United States), massive destruction was caused by the tsunami the earthquake created. The teletsunami, a tsunami that causes damage far from its actual source, was measured at a height of over 24 meters when it hit the town of Aceh and at its peak, reached over 100 feet, causing total destruction of the town and virtually leveled the town of Lhoknga in Indonesia. The strength of the tsunami caused waves to travel more than 2 kilometers inland, causing massive destruction of property.

Boxing Day Tsunami

The tsunami, despite the amount of time it took to cause excessive damage to different parts of the region, still took many by surprise and was the main cause of lives lost. Despite the massive earthquake, many disregarded the notion of a tsunami since a large earthquake measuring 8.7 in magnitude happened in the Indian Ocean in 2005 but a tsunami did not occur during that period. Since the Indian Ocean earthquake in December 26 2004, many have proposed a tsunami warning system and the United Nations have taken steps to implement an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. Despite the tsunami catching most unsuspecting tourists and locals by surprise, there are some possible signs of a possible tsunami, such as the sea receding temporarily from the coast, something a 10 year old British girl on holiday by the name of Tilly Smith learned from her geography class and applied to during the disaster, a move that saved hundreds of lives.

The substantial and catastrophic damage caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake prompted one of the biggest donation ever recorded in history. With scenes of mass destruction appearing in the world media, on newspaper and on the internet, scores of donation poured in and in total, more than seven billion US dollars were raised in humanitarian aid, far more than the five billion US dollars amount of aid needed by the World Bank. Even though the disaster on 26 December claimed many lives, the disaster could perhaps be best summed up by the words of Tilly Smith, the 10 year old British schoolgirl who applied her knowledge learned from school to save plenty of lives, during the first anniversary of the Official Tsunami Commemorations. “It wasn’t devastation or death that won the day. It was humanity that triumphed, the shining victory of generosity, courage, love.”

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    • profile image

      Sammy. 3 years ago

      I. was. in. the. 2004. tsunami

    • profile image

      Dominic 3 years ago

      helped me do my homework :D

    • profile image

      Nethmini Methiwala 3 years ago

      thnx sooooooo much. it helped a lot on my geo assingment

    • profile image

      qwerty boy 4 years ago

      thanks a lot it helped sooooo much

    • profile image

      tom 4 years ago

      thx helped my assignment

    • profile image

      james robinson 4 years ago

      thanks very much this helped for my geog project poo

    • profile image

      Sarah 5 years ago

      This is really sad and usefull, thanks

    • profile image

      coolbeansgirl 5 years ago

      thank u soooooo much!!!!! this awesome article helped me with my science project. this is such a horrible event and R.I.P to those who lost their lives in this tragic tsunami.

    • profile image

      Golden Girl 5 years ago

      A profound tragedy that defies human imagining. One can only pray for the folks left behind to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives & to mourn their loss with them. Grief is grief, no matter where you live in the world.

    • profile image

      Non ya Bus i ness 5 years ago

      What's wrong with emily and cailan!!! im young and you 2 idiots are making nasty comments on an article about a natural disaster that took 230,000 lives.

    • profile image

      Emily-Bekki 5 years ago

      Holly and ShaunaC123, I'm 14 too, and i agree with you both, it's downright disrespectful to comment like that on such a distressing topic. Especially when somebody who has endured the pain of losing loved ones in the Tsunami has actually commented. They should be ashamed. I'm learning about the Tsunami in school, and it really is upsetting:( x

    • profile image

      Holly 5 years ago

      Thx ShaunaC123 those 2 r so immature and i'm 14 too. Can't believe we still don't have warning system for tsunamis. In a way I feel connected to the tsunami because my mum + step-dad were in Thailand 2 days before the tsunami occured.

      :(

    • profile image

      luvyuzaradontwantyutoleave 5 years ago

      such a sad topic...nothing we could have done to prevent it..so sad for all the families..my wishes are with you..

    • profile image

      shamela 5 years ago

      what ever tsunamis

    • profile image

      boxing day 5 years ago

      i like your article

    • profile image

      Bex 5 years ago

      Thnx helped allot with my essay but so tragic!!!

      :(

    • profile image

      ddd 5 years ago

      Thnx this is really good writing...it sad though :(

    • profile image

      shamla 5 years ago

      thanks,this really useful to me

    • profile image

      Jedwardgal123 5 years ago

      Wow thanks so much. This really gave me useful information!

    • profile image

      steve 6 years ago

      it was so sad for lots of people to die

    • StephenSMcmillan profile image

      StephenSMcmillan 6 years ago

      It's a great tragedy ever happened.

    • profile image

      Amy 6 years ago

      thx helped with a project :)

    • profile image

      haylee+ laura 6 years ago

      this information is very interesting we have used it well....... ;)

    • profile image

      Makena 6 years ago

      WOW such GREAT information that will really help with my research!

    • profile image

      Niki 6 years ago

      This is soo deeeep - Y does stuff lyk this hav 2 happen in this world xx

    • profile image

      sewcom 6 years ago

      there is an amount of circumstantial evidence that the tsunami was caused by man for political purposes

    • profile image

      jacob 6 years ago

      i remember that day i was only 5 and i watched mymum and dad die suffering i couldnt do a thing i was puton the shelf while the house flooded why is that the only day i can remember

      =(

    • profile image

      panzer 6 years ago

      did anyone not pick up on the fact that the author wrote

      " Despite the massive earthquake, many disregarded the notion of a tsunami since a large earthquake measuring 8.7 in magnitude happened in the Indian Ocean in 2005 but a tsunami did not occur during that period."

      This just doesnt make sense. They disregarded the earthquake because of one they felt in the furture? oh...

    • profile image

      sadkid123 6 years ago

      this was an amazing artical. I can't beleive that this happened when i was 9 years old

    • profile image

      Hunter Survival Kits 6 years ago

      Thank you for the article.. Stuff like this is really scary to me. And, it's happening more and more frequently, it seems. I guess I'd better go buy survival kits so I'm not kicking myself later.

    • profile image

      ... 6 years ago

      what a terrible disater

    • profile image

      Antoni030898 7 years ago

      this web helped me a lot for my science essay

    • profile image

      porkcrackle 7 years ago

      thanx this really helped me with my factual report

    • profile image

      Pedro 7 years ago

      i think it is a tragedy :(

    • profile image

      monica 7 years ago

      this really helped me with my assiment

    • profile image

      Beth!!!!  7 years ago

      That is awlful and i was very sad when I saw how many people died that is very very sad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. You helped with my assignment so thanxxxx

    • profile image

      Heyy this is Beth!!!! 7 years ago

      That is really bad. You really helped with my project on natural disasters. It sounds interesting but sad at the same time so thanks sorry for all the people that died!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      Bill 7 years ago

      Heart this site! Helped me with end semester assignment:)

    • profile image

      paris  7 years ago

      this page on the boxing day tsunami really helped me with my project of tsunamis

    • profile image

      bom chika 7 years ago

      im doing an assignment on the boxing day tsunami. does anyone know any really good, factual websites i can use?

      thanks

      x

    • profile image

      Jhon 7 years ago

      hey homies... that was a sad day...i will never forget. Good article. R.I.P to those who died.

    • profile image

      Jessica 7 years ago

      great essay i plan to use som e info on a report about the event

      thanks

    • christianbooks profile image

      christianbooks 7 years ago

      Nice Hub ! I was checking out on it as tsunami alert has been issued in several countries and island right now , especially after Chile had 8.8 magnitude earthquake ...

      its really quite alarming !

    • profile image

      autli singh 7 years ago

      tsunami felt very heavy to the millions of live which were dead but much havier to those wo left behind

    • Breet profile image

      Breet 7 years ago

      Great write up...

      Nature sure can pack a punch. My heart went (and still goes) out to all of those who experienced this force of nature. Hopefully, science has learned from it - especially since they have documentation now that the ocean floor has changed.

    • nextstopjupiter profile image

      nextstopjupiter 7 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Even Tilly Smith used the natural early warning system.

    • sremmah profile image

      sremmah 7 years ago from Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia

      Hi SunSeven,

      I really enjoyed (if that's the right word) this excellent article on the terrible 2004 event. It seems to me that it takes a huge tragedy of this nature to bring out the best in people. I'm intrigued by nextstopjupiter's comment about a natural early warning system.

    • nextstopjupiter profile image

      nextstopjupiter 7 years ago from here, there and everywhere

      Yes, it was a tragedy, but aboriginal tribes living on small islands all survived. These people listened to their poets and remembered the tales of their ancestors, they had their early warning system called Mother Nature. So they knew that something was going to happen, and they were able to escape the danger.

    • neysajasper profile image

      neysajasper 7 years ago

      We cannot do anything in natural calamities.. but can pray ...

    • profile image

      Unknown 7 years ago

      those poor people :(

      thanks for all the info!

    • Filipino girls profile image

      Filipino girls 7 years ago

      Excellent article

    • profile image

      Useful Knowledge 7 years ago

      Excellent write on such a sad topic. I remember this event. It was a sad day that I will never forget.

    • profile image

      sportygirl 7 years ago

      that is so sad

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 7 years ago from North Carolina

      It is sad we couldn't prevent this tragedy despite all the technological developments. I hope in the future they have a good warning system.

    • profile image

      lyricsingray 7 years ago

      Thanks-Great Hub and Great Write-Kimberly