2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami
Tectonic setting of Sumatra earthquake - updated map (first maps posted by USGS was showing unrealistic plate boundaries) Details
Compiled by John McDaris
and Monica Bruckner
This page presents visualizations and other resources related to the December 26, 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami. This event constituted one of the largest disasters in history, causing the deaths of over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (98 ft) high.
Browse the complete set of Visualization Collections. If you have comments or additional resources to add to the page, use our Feedback box to let us know.
Jump Down To: Animations | Imagery | Videos | Outreach Efforts | Research
The Earth: A Living Planet - Tsunami ( This site may be offline. ) : This page from the Seed Project contains information on the Indian Ocean Tsunami as well as 2 new visualizations. The first shows the main wave's progress across the ocean in hour increments. The second shows a hypothetical tsunami in profile as it travels across open water and then encounters a land mass.
Windows on the Universe (more info) : Windows on the Universe is a very large Earth and Space Science website serving the educational community and the general public. They have a series of pages on tsunamis that starts at http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/headline_universe/earth_science/stories_2004/tsunami_news.html.
Wikipedia: 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake (more info) : This page at Wikipedia is a community-developed clearinghouse for very extensive information on the earthquake and tsunami. There are tons of links, both internal and external to Wikipedia. They also provide access to news reports, pictures, videos, animations, scientific and government reports, as well as aid group sites.
Quicktime animation (more info)
This Quicktime animation, by Dr. Steven Ward at the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics at the University of California - Santa Cruz, shows the tsunami's progress across the Indian Ocean. It also shows some water level graphs and wave run-up heights throughout the region.
Indian Ocean (more info)
This NOAA visualization tracks the tsunami waves until they reach the East African coast of Somalia.
East African coast of Somalia (more info)
Movie of tsunami waves at Somali coast
world-wide picture (more info)
NOAA has rerun the tsunami model used to generate the two previous visualizations to generate a world-wide picture of the wave's propagation. This is a very large file.
special report (more info)
This special report from The Guardian uses imagery from #2 above and uses a stepwise progression to show when waves reached particular points throughout the Indian Ocean area. This animation helps pull together the phenomenon, the timing, and the consequences for a more general audience.
Asia's Deadly Waves (more info)
: This interactive multimedia site was done by the New York Times. There are pictures, animations and close-ups of the effects of the tsunami. This site is Flash driven.
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Landsat 7 Images Show Scale of Tsunami Damage (more info) : This NASA page shows before and after pictures taken by Landsat 7's Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument of a part of the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. The images show that the scale of the tsunami's impact can be seen from space.
Spot Image - Asia Tsunami ( This site may be offline. ) : This site provides satellite imagery of some of the affected areas, highlighting the effects of the tsunami.
Satellite Images of Tsunami Affected Areas (more info) : The satellite images of the Tsunami affected areas in this web page were acquired by the Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing at the National University of Singapore. They show the effects of the tsunamis on the affected areas in Indonesia, Thailand and island of India.
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Amateur Tsunami Videos (more info) : This site holds a large collection of video footage shot by amateur videographers during both the 2002 Indian Ocean Tsunami and the 2011 Japan Tsunami.
Tsunami Videos (more info) : This weblog has an extensive collection of video from the tsunami.
2004 Asian Tsunamis: A Look Back (more info) : This news station site has a collection of video clips that were shot by amateur photgraphers. The site requires Windows (98, NT, 2000, XP, or ME), Internet Explorer, and Flash (5.0) or Windows Media Player (7.1).
Banda Aceh Pictures (more info) : This is a page of images of the devastation in Banda Aceh taken by two medical doctors in the region helping with the relief effort (Dr. Eric Rasmussen, MD, US Navy and Dr. Dave Warner, MD, Ph.D.). Most of the pictures were taken a mile or more from the coast.
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Tsunami: A special Report on the Asian Tsunami Disaster (more info) : This site (created by Justin Sharpe, a teacher at Beal High School, Ilford, Essex. UK) grew out of a series of presentations the creator has been giving to assemblies of 11-17 year-olds in a high school setting.
Supercourse - Epidemiology, the Internet and Human Health (more info) : This group is developing a library of Just-In-Time Lectures written by faculty across the globe that are freely available to the rest of the world as a way of bringing more high quality information into classrooms. They have two lectures related to the earthquake and tsunami in Southeast Asia.
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NOAA Scientists Able to Measure Tsunami Height from Space (more info) : This news release from NOAA explains how scientists were able to use satellite measurements to calculate the height of the tsunami waves at several times during the tsunami's progress throughout the region.
USGS Earthquakes Hazard Program - Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake (more info) : This page summarizes USGS data on the 9.0 earthquake that spawned the 12/26/04 tsunami.
The Sumatra-Andaman Islands Earthquake (more info) : This site by Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) provides figures, graphs, and other information about the mega-thrust earthquake that gave rise the the tsunami in South and Southeast Asia.
CGIAR Consortium for Spatial Information (more info) : This site is providing links to geospatial resources (GIS and RS) relevant to tsunami affected areas.
ZKI (more info) : This group, in partnership with other international agencies and associated with the German Aerospace Center DLR, has taken over responsibility for the acquisition of satellite data, the generation of image maps, and their dissemination to various relief organisations via the Internet.
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