Indian Ocean (Jan. 2, 2005) – A village near the coast of Sumatra lays in ruin after the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. Helicopters assigned to Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) and Sailors from USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are conducting humanitarian operations in the wake of the Tsunami that struck South East Asia. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently operating in the Indian Ocean off the waters of Indonesia and Thailand. (South-West suburb of Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Village of Lampisang is visible in the upper-right corner) U.S. Navy photo by Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Philip A. McDaniel (RELEASED). This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID 050102-N-9593M-040.
One of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history (second after the 1931 China floods), the 2004 Sumatra Earthquake, also known as the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on 26 December with the epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. It ruptured the greatest fault length of any recorded earthquake, spanning a distance of 1500 km (900 miles). The resulting tsunami, with waves up to 30 metres (100 ft) high, caused up to a quarter of a million deaths.
The earthquake had also longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimeter (0.4 inches). Total energy release by the quake was 4.0×1022 joules (4.0×1029 ergs), or 9,600 gigatons of TNT, 550 million times that of Hiroshima atomic bomb. The vast majority of this energy was underground. The energy released on the Earth’s surface was estimated at 1.1×1017 joules, or 26 megatons of TNT. This energy is equivalent to over 1,500 times that of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, but less than that of Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated.
The resulting tsunami was given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, South Asian tsunami, Indonesian tsunami, the Christmas tsunami (there were also hundreds of thousands Christian tourists in the areas affected by the tsunami), and the Boxing Day tsunami.