GCSE Geography Case Study: Coastal Flooding

Boxing day Tsunami 2004

Where, How, Causes, Effects,

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  • Created on: 31-05-09 17:25
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When: The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake (great SumatraAndaman earthquake) was an
undersea earthquake that happened on December 26, 2004
Where: It's epicentre was off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It effected many
countries across asia including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Thialand, and The
Cause: An estimated 1,600 km of fault line slipped about 15 m along the subduction zone
where the India Plate (part of the IndoAustralian Plate) slides under the Burma Plate (part
of the Eurasian Plate). The slip did not happen instantaneously but took place in two phases
over a period of several minutes.
Strength of Earthquake: The magnitude of the earthquake was originally recorded as 9.0,
but has been increased to between 9.1 and 9.3. At this magnitude, it is the second largest
earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. The earthquake also had the longest duration
of faulting, the termours lasted between 8 to 10 minutes. This earthquake triggered a
Strength of Tsumami: The tsunami was a succession of several waves, occurring in retreat
and rise cycles with a period of over 30 minutes between each peak. The third wave was
the most powerful and reached highest, occurring about an hour and a half after the first
wave. Smaller tsunamis continued to occur for the rest of the day.
Warning System: Despite there being several hours between the earthquake and the
impact of the tsunami, nearly all of the victims were taken completely by surprise. There
were no tsunami warning systems in the Indian Ocean to detect tsunamis or to warn the
people living around the ocean
Effects: The casualties are now thought to be 186,983 dead and 42,883 missing, a total of
229,866. Measured by the loss of lives, it was one of the ten worst earthquakes in recorded
history, as well as the single worst tsunami in history. Thousands of people lost their homes
and were left for days without clean drinking water, food or shelter. The impact on coastal
fishing communities , some of the poorest people in the region, was devastating with high
losses of income earners as well as boats and fishing gear.
Beyond the heavy toll on human lives, the Indian Ocean earthquake has caused an
enormous environmental impact that will affect the region for many years to come. It has
been reported that severe damage has been inflicted on ecosystems such as mangroves,
coral reefs, forests, coastal wetlands, vegetation, sand dunes and rock formations and
groundwater. In addition, the spread of solid and liquid waste and industrial chemicals,
water pollution and the destruction of sewage collectors threaten the environment even

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Aid given: A great deal of aid was needed because of widespread damage. Epidemics
were of special concern due to the high population density and tropical climate of the
affected areas. The main concern was to provide sanitation facilities and fresh drinking
water to contain the spread of diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, dysentery, typhoid and
hepatitus. Nations all over the world provided over $7 billion in aid for the damages
counties.…read more


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