See also Tsunami from Asteroid Impacts

Terradaily/SpaceDaily series of reports - thanks Simon Mansfield

*** First Report ***

- Quake rocks north of Indonesia's Sumatra island

*** Lead Roundups ***

- Tidal wave quake hit 9.0 on Richter scale: US Geological Survey

- UN leads world answer to desperate pleas for help after wave disaster

- Death toll from Asian quake, tidal waves nears 11,500

- No warning system in place for tsunami-hit countries: USGS

- Magnitude of Sumatra quake raised to 8.9 on Richter scale

- Deadly earthquakes worldwide in the past century

- 8.9 Sumatra quake fifth-largest since 1900: USGS

- Asia's worst earthquakes since 1970

- Asian quake hits one year on from Bam disaster

- Asian super-quake largest in four decades

- Giant walls of water leave trail death and destruction across Asia

- UN sends disaster teams to help Asia tsunami victims

- European tourists tell of death and devastation from killer waves

- New York, US East Coast also face tsunami threat: scientists

*** Tourist Resorts ***

- Foreign tourists missing as tidal waves slam Thailand's Phuket resort

- Fears for thousands of foreign tourists in Asian tidal wave zone

- Pakistan calls for global effort to deal with Asia quake

*** Sri Lanka ***

- More than 4,300 killed in Sri Lanka's worst-ever disaster

- Tidal waves cause havoc in Sri Lanka

- Thousands displaced as massive tidal waves hit Sri Lanka

- Sri Lanka president appeals for doctors to help in catastrophe

- Shaken tourists wish for another Sri Lanka holiday without drama

- 300 Sri Lankan convicts escape as tsunami destroys jail

*** India ***

- Indian armed forces deploy to help victims of massive tsunami

- India dispatches aid and medicine after killer tsunamis, offers help

- Giant wall of water washes away thousands of lives, homes in India

- At least 2,600 dead as tidal waves devastate southern India

- Indian death toll from tidal waves rises above 2,600

*** Thailand ***

- Tsunami-hit locations among the tourist jewels of Indian Ocean

- Foreign tourists missing as tidal waves slam Thailand's Phuket resort

- Fears for thousands of foreign tourists in Asian tidal wave zone

- 'Everyone at the beach died': Polish tourist in Thai tidal wave

- Death, devastation swamp Thailand's tsunami-stricken resort island Phuket

*** Africa ***

- Deadly waves from Asia quake hit African coast

- African nations clear Indian Ocean beaches at risk from killer waves

The Great Earthquake and Tsunami of 26 December 2004 in Southeast Asia
Dr. George Pararas-Carayannis - homepage (site overloaded on 29 Dec 04)
Prepared for Greek newspapers and translated by Dr Pararas-Carayannis.

On Sunday, 26 December 2004, the greatest earthquake in 40 years occurred about 150 kilometers off the west coast of northern Sumatra Island in Indonesia. The moment magnitude of the earthquake - which is larger than the Richter magnitude - was 9.   This makes it the fourth largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and  the largest since the 1964 Alaska earthquake. The quake was widely felt in Sumatra, the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Bangladesh and India.

The region where this great earthquake took place marks the boundary where the great tectonic plates of India and Australia collide with the Sunda and the Eurasian plates, and where large catastrophic earthquakes and volcanic explosions and tsunamis have occurred for millions of years. It is the same tectonic interaction that  was responsible for the cataclysmic 1815 explosion of the Tambora volcano and the prehistoric explosion of the Taba volcano in Northern Sumatra. It is also the same general region where a large earthquake with a Richter magnitude of 7.9 occurred,  as recently as June 4, 2000.

The great earthquake of December 26, 2004 was extremely damaging and resulted in many deaths. However, most of the destruction and deaths were caused by the catastrophic tsunami waves it generated. Massive tsunami waves wiped out entire coastal areas across southeastern Asia, Sri Lanka, India and islands in the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean.  The tsunami waves caused considerable destruction and killed people as far as 1,600 kilometers away.  As of the writing of this article, more than 23,000 people have lost their lives. The death toll is expected to rise considerably in the next few days.

Destructive tsunami are not uncommon in the Bay of Bengal or along the Sunda Trench.  On June 26, 1941, a devastating earthquake in the Andaman Sea, with a Richter magnitude greater than 8.O,  generated a major tsunami that killed more than 5,000 people on the east coast of India. However, at that time, the media incorrectly attributed the deaths and damage to storm surges rather than to a tsunami generated by an earthquake.  Many more deaths must have occurred but were not reported.

The catastrophic impact of tsunami on human society is not limited to this region of the world or to the countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. Destructive earthquakes and tsunamis have ravaged the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, the Greek mainland and the islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The eastern Mediterranean basin where the Anatolian plate extends, is one of the world's most intense seismic zones where large destructive earthquakes occur with frequency.

The impact of tsunamis in the early societies of the Eastern Mediterranean Sea can be traced back in written history to the 15th century B.C., when the Minoan civilization was wiped out by tsunami waves generated by the explosion and massive collapse of the volcano of Santorin,  and by large earthquakes in the Southern Aegean Region. References to other catastrophic waves in the eastern Mediterranean include a tsunami that killed thousands of people in ancient Alexandria, on July 21, 365.

In more recent times, from a total of 613 known historic earthquakes, at least 41 major events generated tsunamis that struck coastal areas of the Greek mainland and the Aegean islands. Sixteen of these earthquakes resulted in really damaging or disastrous tsunamis. Between 1801 and 1958, 482 earthquakes with intensity equal or greater than VI, and 170 with intensity greater than VIII occurred. Twenty of these earthquakes resulted in tsunamis and six of these tsunamis were particularly damaging or disastrous in the Aegean Sea. The best documented and most recent destructive earthquakes and tsunamis in the Aegean Sea occurred on 9 July 1956 near the southwest coast of the island of Amorgos. It killed 53 people, injured 100, and destroyed hundreds of houses. The tsunami waves were as high as  25 and 20 meters, on the south coast of Amorgos and on the north coast of the island of Astypalaea. The waves were very damaging in many other Greek islands

The vulnerability of Greece to the tsunami hazard should not be overlooked. If an earthquake similar to the 1956 occurred today, particularly during the summer months when Greeks and foreign visitors crowd the beaches and coastal areas, the potential death toll would be great. A program of tsunami preparedness and a system of disseminating warning information should be established. Efforts to establish such an educational and warning network, spearheaded by Dr. Gerassimos Papadopoulos of the Athens  Geodynamic Institute, should be encouraged and endorsed.  The effects of a potential tsunami disaster in Greece can  be mitigated and minimized only through such a system of preparedness.

Nobody should have been surprised


on Tuesday, December 28th, 2004 (Liberation - 06:00), France.
Translation by Dr George Pararas-Carayannis

Consultant to international organizations, George Pararas-Carayannis (1) was for a long time director of the international Tsunami Information
Center (ITIC), based in Hawaii.

Question : No warning for the tsunami was given Sunday by the Centre (PTWC) in Hawaii. Why?

Answer : The Indian ocean is not part of the Pacific zone which is under the supervision of
the Tsunami Warning System . It is for this reason that scientists at  (PTWC) in Hawaii could
not issue a warning . There was no one in the threatened regions that could receive or act on
the bulletin that was issued (by PTWC).

It  takes about a minute to measure (at PTWC) an earthquake and to know that it is large enough to
require the issuance of a warning (Pacific). In  the present  case (Sunday),  more than an hour
for the informational bulletin to reach appropriate authorities - who did not have  the
capability to pass any type of warning information to the threatened regions India and
Shri Lanka. . It was already too late for them.

There is no established international coordination in this region of the world and
therefore ther is no ability to issue warnings.


The countries bordering the Indian ocean have basic facilities of seismic instrumentation and
communications. Nobody should have been surprised, since earthquakes with magnitude 8,1
had occurred in the region previously.  The local authorities should have been alerted. But
unfortunately what is  missing in the region is sufficient interest  to participate and
coordinate effectively into a regional   warning system as it is done for other areas of the
Pacific. More than anything, what is needed is public education program of hazard awareness and
a plan for disaster preparedness. Such public educational programs are strongly supported in
places like Hawaii and Japan and disaster preparedness is part of the school curriculum.
Children and adults who live in coastal areas know what to do in case a tsunami warning is
issued.  Even if there is no official notiication from the authorities, people know of the tsunami
hazard and of measures that must be taken to protect themshelves.  A successful program of
preparedness requires planning and organization by the local authorities. Such a program of
preparedness needs to become the responsibility of a center or a civil defense organization  in
each country or region. Such as center must also have the ability to issue effective and timely
warnings to the threatened coastal populations - even in remote coastal villages. Since there is
not such an operational center (at the present time), even if a warning had been issued Sunday,
it is doubtful that the information would have reached the populations of coastal villages in
the region.

Can populations be protected from tsunamis?

Of course! However there are many more additional hazards associated with tsunamis that the
population of a threatened area must be warned about. Not only the waves are dangerous but they
can carry floating objects and projectiles which may increase their destructive capability.
Mangrove vegetation in certain areas can provide a degree of protection in helping to dissipate
the energy of the waves.

In Hawaii, after the tsunami of 1960, the building codes of building were revised.
Numerous hotels close to the shoreline  were built in such a way as to allow the water of the
tsunami to pass underneath so that the damage is limited and confined to the first two floors.
Guest at hotels are evacuated to higher floors. Along shorelines that have flat topography and
evacuation impossible - as at  Papua-New Guinea - I have recommended the construction of platforms
with foundations that withstand the impact of tsunami waves. In case of warning, or need,
people could take refuge to these platforms. Surely, it represents a an investment which may
be difficult for poor countries, but it is an investment that could save lives. but again, the
best investment is a program of education on disaster awareness and preparedness. Such a
program should be the first responsibility of civil defense officials in each country.

There are regions where collaboration does not seem to have produced results, as in Caribbean,
where the United States, France and Great Britain have a stake (a lot to lose...)

That's true, in the Caribbean the problem is somewhat different and more complex. Not only
there is a risk of tsunami of seismic origin, but there is also the risk of tsunamis from volcanic
eruptions and from massive collapses of volcanic flanks - as for example the recent tsunamis on
Montserrat Island from the eruption and flank collapses of the Soufriere Hills volcano.

Establishing of a Tsunami Warning System there is difficult and can be expensive. However, it is
necessary because if a tsunami occurs again in the same region of the Puerto Rico Trench - as it
did in 1865 (correct date is 1867) and 1918, numerous densely populated islands in the region
will be devastated as , for example,  Puerto - Rico or the American and British Virgin isles.
Let us not overlook the impact that a tsunami would have on a cruise ship in the harbor. It
could possibly overturn it. Also imagine what could happen to the thousands of tourist  and
what impact it would have  on the economy of this area. ...... People seem to have a very short
memory of disasters..... They always wait until after a catastrophe  - like the one that occurred
on Sunday - to take a some plan of action....

c2004 Liberation