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Tsunamis and Earthquakes

The 26 December 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami: Initial Findings from Sumatra

 
Table of Contents

Introduction
Survey Team
Survey and Methods
Tsunami Heights
Inundation
Damage to Structures
Tsunami Sand Deposits
Subsidence
Coastal Response
Photo Gallery
Acknowledgments
Links
Contacts

 

Damage to Structures

Being just landward of the subduction zone where the tsunami-generating earthquake occurred, northwestern Sumatra was struck by a "near field" tsunami. In contrast, areas across the ocean from the earthquake epicenter, such as Sri Lanka, were struck by "far field" tsunamis. The rapid arrival of the tsunami in near-field locations—just 15 to 20 minutes in Banda Aceh—means that a tsunami early-warning system, now in the planning stages for the Indian Ocean, should be accompanied by tsunami education and long-term emergency and land-use planning efforts for the most effective mitigation of tsunami hazards.

Because the tsunami washed out many roads and bridges, the scientists had to hike long distances to reach some field areas, and on several occasions used makeshift rafts constructed from barrels and boards to cross rivers. Despite such complications, they were able to collect much data, which will be used to improve both the scientific understanding of tsunamis and the computer models used to predict tsunami effects.
 


Homes in Banda Aceh far inland experienced minor flooding from the tsunami. [larger image]
Photo in Banda Aceh
Homes on the coast were completely obliterated by the tsunami. Photo taken in Banda Aceh [larger image]

Earthquake damage was minimal. Photo taken in Banda Aceh [larger image]
Photo in Banda Aceh, see caption below
Earthquake damage was minimal. Photo taken in Banda Aceh [larger image]
Photo of people on raft
Makeshift rafts were constructed to take locals across rivers where bridges were taken out by tsunami. [larger image]
Photo of people on raft
Makeshift rafts were constructed to take locals across rivers where bridges were taken out by tsunami. Some rafts were better than others. [larger image]
photo from helicopter in Krueng Sabe
Near the remnants of a bridge destroyed by the tsunami in Krueng Sabe, construction of a new bridge is nearly complete. Photo was taken from helicopter on 28 January 2005. [larger version]
Tsunami damage in Banda Aceh
approaching tsunami-affected section of Banda Aceh [larger version]
steel reinforcement bent as tsunami removed building
steel reinforcement bent as tsunami removed building [larger version]
large barge carried inland 3 km by tsunami
large barge carried inland 3 km by tsunami [larger version]
steel-reinforced support bent by tsunami
steel-reinforced support bent by tsunami [larger version]
steel beams bent over by the force of the tsunami
steel beams of a cell tower bent over by the force of the tsunami [larger version]

Next pageTsunami Sand Deposits



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