December 26, 2004: Massive earthquake and deadly tsunami devastate Indonesia and other countries. “The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC (about 0800 local time) on Sunday, 26 December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia.…
The earthquake was caused by subduction and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters (98 ft) high. It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history. Indonesia was the hardest-hit country, followed by Sri Lanka, India, and Thailand.
With a magnitude of Mw 9.1–9.3, it is the third largest earthquake ever recorded on a seismograph. The earthquake had the longest duration of faulting ever observed, between 8.3 and 10 minutes. It caused the entire planet to vibrate as much as 1 centimetre (0.4 inches) and triggered other earthquakes as far away as Alaska. Its epicentre was between Simeulue and mainland Indonesia. The plight of the affected people and countries prompted a worldwide humanitarian response. In all, the worldwide community donated more than $14 billion (2004 US$) in humanitarian aid.”
Commentary: Unfortunately, the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami has been the biggest water history story so far in the 21st century.