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Earthquake Spawns Tsunamis
This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated. At the time of publication, it represented the best available science. However, more recent observations and studies may have rendered some content obsolete.
The beaches of Khao Lak, Thailand were struck by a tsunami 2-3 hours after the magnitude 9.0 earthquake of December 26, 2004. Although 500 km away from the epicenter, the waves were 10 meters (33 feet) high. A resort area popular with Northern European tourists, luxury resorts dotted the coastline (January 3, 2003 image, lower center). Buildings and vegetation were scoured by the waves, leaving foundations and bare soil. Beach sand was also removed by the tsunamis. These high-resolution satellite images were acquired by DigitaGlobe’s Ikonos satellite.
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake - the largest in 40 years - struck offshore of the Indonesian island of Sumatra on December 26, 2004. These images show the damage caused by the resulting tsunami to the shores of northwestern Sumatra.