(email questions/comments to wrightted@aol.com).
Ted Wright -- last update 12/27/2004 & 12/30 & 1/13 (Earthquake.html) www.cvilleok.com Copyright 2004 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma

Fourth Largest Earthquake
Dec. 26, 2004
Thousands Killed
By Huge Waves in 9 Countries
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9.0 Earthquake
Sunday Dec. 26, 2004
Under Indian Ocean
Near Indonesia
According to the U.S. Geological Survey the following are the strongest earthquakes since 1900:
1. May 22, 1960 (9.5 magnitude) Chile
2. March 28, 1964 (9.2 magnitude) Alaska (Prince William Sound)
3. March 9, 1957 (9.1 magnitude) Alaska (Andreanof Islands)
4. Dec. 26, 2004 (9.0 magnitude) Sumatra, Indonesia.
4. Nov. 4, 1952 (9.0 magnitude) Russia (Kamchatka peninsula)
6. Jan. 31, 1906 (8.8 magnitude), off the coast of Ecuador
7. Feb. 4, 1965 (8.7 magnitude) Alaska (Rat Islands)
8. Aug. 15, 1950 (8.6 magnitude) Tibet.
9. Feb. 3, 1923 (8.5 magnitude) Kamchatka.
10. Feb. 1, 1938 (8.5 magnitude) Banda Sea, Indonesia.
11. Oct. 13, 1963 (8.5 magnitude) Kuril Islands.
Information from the USGS website:
The devastating megathrust earthquake of December 26th, 2004 occurred on the interface of the India and Burma plates and was cause by the release of stresses that develop as the India plate subducts beneath the overriding Burma plate. The India plate begins its decent into the mantle at the Sunda trench which lies to the west of the earthquake's epicenter. The trench is the surface expression of the India-Burma plate interface.
The tectonics of the region is complex and involves the interaction of the Australian, Sunda and Eurasian plates in addition to the India and Burma plate. The India and Australia plates move northeastwards at a rate of about 6 cm/year relative to the Burma plate. This results in oblique convergence at the Sunda trench. Some of this oblique motion is accommodated on the right-lateral transform faults and rifts that separate the Burma and Sunda plates.

Preliminary locations of larger aftershocks following the megathrust earthquake show that approximately 1000 km of the plate boundary slipped as a result of the earthquake. Aftershocks are distributed along much of the shallow plate interface and primarily extend northwards of the epicenter to the Andaman Islands.

The worlds largest recorded earthquakes were all megathrust events and occur where one tectonic plate subducts beneath another. These include: the magnitude 9.5 1960 Chile earthquake, the magnitude 9.2 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake, the magnitude 9.1 1957 Andreanof, Alaska earthquake, and the magnitude 9.0 1952 Kamchatka earthquake. As with the recent event, megathrust earthquakes often generate large tsunamis that can cause damage over a much wider area than is directly effected by ground shaking near the earthquake's rupture.

The 1964 article below (by my Mother with letters from Mel & Gracie Evans) provides some insight from those who rode out that 9.2 earthquake near Anchorage, Alaska. -- Ted
Early Estimates Show Over 22,000 Lives Lost From Tsunamis (Dec 27)
The time for the earthquake was Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 07:58:50 AM at epicenter in the Indian Ocean. Here in North America, it was still Saturday, December 25, 2004 at 06:58:50 PM (CST) - Central Standard Time.
Dec. 30th Update: The estimated death toll has risen daily & is now up to 114,000 in 12 countries.
Link to map of Dec. 2004 earthquake and tsunami impacted region.
From a Reuters Web Story Jan. 13, 2005
"The tsunami killed at least 157,000 people, including 105,000 in Indonesia, 30,000 in Sri Lanka and 15,000 in India. Many of the more than 5,000 killed in Thailand were foreign tourists, a large number of them from Europe."