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2004 December 26 00:58:53 UTC

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Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location 3.316°N, 95.854°E
Depth30 km (18.6 miles) set by location program
Distances250 km (155 miles) SSE of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia
300 km (185 miles) W of Medan, Sumatra, Indonesia
1260 km (780 miles) SSW of BANGKOK, Thailand
1590 km (990 miles) NW of JAKARTA, Java, Indonesia
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 5.6 km (3.5 miles); depth fixed by location program
ParametersNST=276, Nph=276, Dmin=654.9 km, Rmss=1.04 sec, Gp= 29°,
M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=U
Event IDus2004slav
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Earthquake Summary

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Earthquake Summary Map

Felt Reports

This is the third largest earthquake in the world since 1900 and is the largest since the 1964 Prince William Sound, Alaska earthquake. In total, 227,898 people were killed or were missing and presumed dead and about 1.7 million people were displaced by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 14 countries in South Asia and East Africa. (In January 2005, the death toll was 286,000. In April 2005, Indonesia reduced its estimate for the number missing by over 50,000.) The earthquake was felt (IX) at Banda Aceh, (VIII) at Meulaboh and (IV) at Medan, Sumatra and (III-V) in parts of Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The tsunami caused more casualties than any other in recorded history and was recorded nearly world-wide on tide gauges in the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Seiches were observed in India and the United States. Subsidence and landslides were observed in Sumatra. A mud volcano near Baratang, Andaman Islands became active on December 28 and gas emissions were reported in Arakan, Myanmar.

Tectonic Summary

The devastating megathrust earthquake of December 26th, 2004 occurred on the interface of the India and Burma plates and was caused by the release of stresses that develop as the India plate subducts beneath the overriding Burma plate. The India plate begins its descent 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 plate interface between the Australia and India plates, situated to the southwest of the trench, and the Burma and Sunda plates, situated to the northeast. MORE...

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FAQ - Everything Else You Want to Know about this Earthquake & Tsunami

Earthquake Information for Indonesia