On December 26, 2004, one of the largest tsunami’s in recorded history struck in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami was triggered by a large earthquake that occurred in the middle of the ocean, registering somewhere between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale. The energy released in the earthquake was equivalent to a nuclear blast of around 26 megatons, or approximately 1500 times the magnitude of the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. The force was so great in fact that the planet Earth rang like a bell for several days, oscillating back and force with an amplitude of a few centimetres. In addition, the length of a day on earth has been permanently changed by a few microseconds due to the change in the earth’s distribution of mass following the earthquake.
All in all, the resulting tsunami that day resulted in the deaths of around 300,000 people, and the displacement of approximately 1.2 million people, mostly from local villages based around the Indian Ocean. Many people didn’t recognize the drawback (where the water suddenly recedes before the first crest hits) that occurs often with tsunamis, so they marched towards the water to investigate instead of running away to higher ground.
So, while many people are out shopping today, let us not forget the power of nature, or the 300,000 people that perished five years ago today.