Case Study: Indonesian Earthquake/Tsunami

A written case study with a factfile summary on the Indonesian Earthqauke 26/12/2004.

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  • Created on: 23-03-12 08:24
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Helena Bonici Geography
13EA2 Plate Tectonics
Devastation reigned on 26th December 2004 when an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.3 hit, just 150 miles from the coast of northwest Sumatra.
There were periodic seismic tremors within the region when 100 years worth of tension and pressure were finally released on the Boxing Day. This occurs due to the
Eurasian plate grinding against the Australian plate as well as the known subduction zone that exists within the 745 mile trench called the Sunda trench. It was only a 15-20m
slip but lasted for three to four minutes as it occurred in two phases..
A large contributing factor for the size of the earthquake was its depth where the focus was at __m. This was able to amplify the damage and its effect as
well as increase its rating on the richter scale because it is classed as a 'shallow' earthquake which ultimately do more damage.
Aftershocks continued for months afterwards which caused issues as well as creating some higher waves etc.
The tsunami is an effect of the original
earthquake, due to its location within the Indian
ocean. When an earthquake strikes, it causes vibrations,
and these movements will carry on into the
surrounding areas ­ thus causing the materials
around it to change character slightly. In water, the immediate effects of an earthquake are
not always visible as the waves lengths are long and short in length. However, as they move
closer towards shore, they slow in velocity and will increase in height paired with a reduction
in length ­ forming high waves that exist one after another.
Generally, tsunami waves will form after they've lost velocity from the distance anyway,
however, due to the earthquake's proximity with Sumatra, it travelled the distance without
losing much of its initial energy so that when it was travelled towards the coastline, and ergo
restricted with volume, it was able to create higher waves. Some of these waves grew to
heights of 20-30m when the Indonesian tsunami struck in 2004. The waves were also able
to penetrate up to 800m inland in some areas.
Some areas also managed to be unscathed by the waves due to their direction and force with some unlikely candidates such as Bangladesh where the tsunami didn't hit. This
is because the trend of the faultline was north/north-west to south/south-west which directed the waves into a westerly direction, mostly. It was for this reason that the east
of Africa, up to 8,500km away, experience abnormal high tides that were up to 1.5m above normal levels and these ranged for over 16hours after the initial earthquake.

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Helena Bonici Geography
13EA2 Plate Tectonics
Due to the absence of a warning system, there was no efficient way to warn areas of the many densely populated coastal areas that surround the Indian Ocean, and so large
numbers of people were caught in the large waves that were the tsunami. This is shown directly by the Indonesian officials stating that the fatality for just the 26th December
was _____.…read more

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Helena Bonici Geography
13EA2 Plate Tectonics
This caused lower income which placed burden on the already problematic economy that had resulted from the tsunami after the requirement of rebuilding areas.
There was much charity funding and aid delivered to the countries affected, to help relieve the strain on their economy as well as finance the giving of clean water and food
to feed 1.3 million people.…read more

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Helena Bonici Geography
13EA2 Plate Tectonics
It was not only aid
that was given to the countries but also the promise of a new warning system after meeting held in January 2005 in Kobe, Japan (an area of high tectonic activity) agreeing to
the development of the Indian Ocean Tsunami warning system.…read more

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Helena Bonici Geography
13EA2 Plate Tectonics
sensors to 26 national tsunami information centres. It was predicted to be active by June 2006. Nonetheless, it was not finished and when a smaller tsunami of only 2m-high hit
200km of Java's southern coast after an earthquake occurred in the ocean, approximately 530 people died.…read more

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Helena Bonici Geography
13EA2 Plate Tectonics
6…read more


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