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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This page contains archived content and is no longer being updated.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 true-color image above shows an inlet of Little Andaman Island, near the village of Kwate-tu-Kwage. Little Andaman Island is part of India’s Andaman Island chain, situated in the eastern Indian Ocean roughly 965 km (600 miles) south-southeast of Bangladesh. The image shows a swath of destruction (grayish patches) just inland from the beach as buildings and houses were damaged or swept away by surging seawater. The image was acquired on January 2, 2005, by the IKONOS satellite.
Although this scene is partly obscured by a thin cloud overhead, many striking details can be seen in the full-resolution copy. A dark crescent of standing water can be seen to the west (left) of the village—possibly the remnants of the tsunami. The image also reveals tsunami destruction to structures along the coast and damage fairly far inland as well. In some cases structures have been ripped off foundations, which is especially noticeable near the inlet.
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.