Overview of the earthquakes that caused the deadly Tsunami of 2004.
On December 26, 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake was created where the Indian plate subducts beneath the Burma plate. The tsunami was created when the sudden movement of the plates vertically uplifted the seabed by several meter and displaced the water above to create many large waves that began to move away from where the earthquake began, the epicenter. In the ocean, the waves moved fast but were of small height. As the waves approached the coast, they increased in height but decreased in velocity. Hundreds of aftershocks, or smaller earthquakes after the main, stronger one, helped make more tsunamis.
Unlike normal subduction boundaries, the boundary of the Indian and Burma plate didn’t create a volcano. Instead, the Burma plate raised the Indian plate in a swift movement that created a devastating magnitude 9.0 earthquake. The sudden, rough uplift of the ocean floor made the tsunami even more powerful because the intense earthquake made large waves that moved away from the epicenter. Then, hundreds of aftershocks occurred throughout the Burma plate created several more tsunamis. The unusual, mighty earthquake created by the subducting boundaries of the Indian and Burma plates created the tsunamis that affected more than six countries and killed thousands of people.
The main reason of the catastrophe of the tsunami in 2004 was the lack of warning centers that could alert people or coastal areas. There was no one in charge of alerting the citizens or finding out information about earthquakes or tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. Even when the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center detected the earthquake and knew that there was a possibility of a tsunami, they had no one to contact in the Indian Ocean region whom they could alert, and the Indian Ocean region itself had no prediction models that could detect a tsunami. Because tsunamis are extremely rare and there were no ways to detect tsunamis, the Indian Ocean also had no tide gauges or any type of protection against tsunamis, and the resident probably had no idea of what a tsunami is or what to do if an earthquake was felt while they were on the coast. If the people had known to flee inland or if they had had any warnings from the government, most of the thousands of people who died in the tsunami could’ve been saved.