Massive Quake Triggers Deadly Waves in Asia

A tsunami drowned thousands in Sri Lanka. Reuters

A tsunami drowned thousands in Sri Lanka, above. People were also forced to higher ground in India, Indonesia and the Thai island of Phuket. Reuters Reuters hide caption

itoggle caption Reuters
A string of aftershock tremors followed Sunday's huge quake in the Indian Ocean, inset.

A string of aftershock tremors followed Sunday's huge quake in the Indian Ocean, inset. Source: USGS hide caption

itoggle caption Source: USGS

The strongest earthquake in 40 years hit Southeast Asia Sunday morning, setting off tsunamis that killed thousands. Measured at 8.9, the earthquake is the most powerful recorded since a 9.2 quake hit Alaska in 1964.

The undersea quake, which struck near northern Indonesia, generated a tsunami that brought massive sea surges to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and other areas. An estimated 7,000 people have died in the aftermath.

The tsunami that resulted from the 1964 Alaska earthquake killed 112. The most recent major tsunami was in 1998, when more than 2,200 died in areas of Papua New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia.

Seismologists say aftershocks of the quake rippled northwards, from northern Sumatra to near Andaman Island. A total of 17 earthquakes were recorded in the area Sunday, with eight having a magnitude of 6 or more. All were at a relatively shallow depth, 10 kilometers.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.