Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami Sources

The earthquake that generated the great Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 is estimated to have released the energy of 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs.

— U.S. Geological Survey Web Site

The Indian Ocean tsunami generated by the most powerful earthquake in decades on December 26 is believed to have killed more than 150,000 people and made millions homeless, making it perhaps the most destructive tsunami in history.

  • Tsunamis can extend inland by one thousand feet (300 meters) or more. The enormous force and weight of so much water sweeps away almost everything in its path.
  • Many people reported that they saw animals fleeing for high ground minutes before the tsunami arrived. Very few animal bodies were found afterwards. Somehow the animals seemed to know that disaster was imminent.
  • Tsunami waves can be very long (as much as 60 miles or 100 kilometers) and be as far as one hour apart. They are able to cross entire oceans without great loss of energy. The Indian Ocean tsunami traveled as much as 3,000 miles (nearly 5,000 kilometers) to Africa, arriving with sufficient force to kill people and destroy property.

—National Geographic News Web Site

The purpose of this guide is to direct users to authoritative sources of information on the Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami, which occurred on December 26, 2004. To quickly access one of the following sections, please select a link below:

One Year Later


Geological Aspects




Images, Maps, & Animations


Tsunami Warning & Information Centers