___________________________ THE TIMES OF INDIA 27 th Dec.’04 HISTORY’S FIFTH-LARGEST EARTHQUAKE GIVES RISE TO TIDAL WAVES WASHING AWAY THOUSANDS WAVE OF DESTRUCTION The world’s fifth-largest earthquake in a century, with a magnitude of 8.9, struck the coast of the Northern Indonesian Island of Sumatra, triggering Tsunamis that crashed into Sri Lanka and India, drowning thousands and swamping tourist isles in Thailand and the Maldives. Altogether, Over 4,000 deaths reported so far. The toll is expected to rise. __________________________ THE TRUTH In contrast to the 4,000 deaths reported on the first day, the latest reports give an idea of some 2.5 lakh deaths of innocents and around 50,000 who lost their home in this episode, all over the Asian continent. In addition, a loss of millions and million dollars worth of property.
TSUNAMI …The Inside Story Comes from Japanese word for ‘Harbour Wave’. Generally called tidal waves, though phrase is a misnomer as it has nothing to do with tides. Tsunamis are generated when ocean floor shifts vertically, usually due to an earthquake.
How Is It Born? When a shift in the ocean floor displaces the water above, the body of water travels as a huge wave to regain equilibrium. What Happens Near Land? In deep water, a Tsunami can travel at 700 km/hr. But in shallow water near coast, it gets slower, and water mass rises up to 50 metres. How Destructive It Is? A Tsunami can strip coasts of sand, uproot trees, wipe out towns. Travelling hundreds of metres inland, it can flood coastal towns.
The Great Quake Impact Its almost impossible to visualize the power that the 12/26 Tsunami carried. The energy released by the earthquake off the coast of Indonesia was 2 exajoules or 2 x 10 18 Joules. For just a comparison, have a look at the facts. ENERGY RELEASED BY THE QUAKE WAS EQUIVALENT TO: # Boiling 1,000 litres of water for each person in the world. # Annual production of 9,40,000 barrels of oil/day. # 5 times the power used by all of Norway in 1998. # 13 times as powerful as the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. # 40,000 ‘Little Boys’ – the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. # A billion bolts of lightning.