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Fourteen years on, what have we learned from the Indian Ocean tsunami?

Efforts to fully characterise the sequence of events have brought scientists closer to predicting such hazards well in advance

Representative image
Representative image

The Indian Ocean tsunami 14 years ago, on the morning after Christmas, was massive by any contemporary standard. The M9.3 earthquake that caused it emanated from a point near the west coast of Sumatra. It moved the seafloor by 10-20 m vertically and displaced trillions of tonnes of undersea rock, rippling through the 1,000-km-long Andaman plate boundary. The tsunami created as a result slammed into the coasts of 11 countries, from east Africa to Thailand, killing over 200,000 people. Notwithstanding the several minutes to several hours between the quake and the tsunami reaching ...