Saltwater contaminated the soil, which affected the groundwater, leaving many of the islands in the Maldives uninhabitable (Pearce & Holmes, 2005). Many of the crops were poisoned by saltwater, leaving the farmland unusable, potentially for at least a decade (Pearce, et. al., 2005). Looking to the Future Despite being detected by the Pacific Tsunami Monitoring Center (PTMC), there was no warning system in place in the Indian Ocean region to warn about the pending tsunami (Athukorala, et. al., 2005). Environmental regulations that would have protected the coastline from damage, had long been ignored, likely contributing to the high loss of life (Athukorala, et. al., 2005). Unfortunately, development along the coast had destroyed coral reefs and various other natural barriers that would have provided a buffer against the waves. Eighteen months after the disaster, the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System was established to provide 24-hour monitoring of seismic activity that triggers tsunamis. Some have also advocated for increased education for those living that area to become better educated regarding the signs of a pending
The Boxing Day Earthquake 5 tsunami, such as the drawback of the ocean from the shore. This is one of the first signs that people need to move to higher ground. Conclusion The earthquake and subsequent tsunamis that battered the coast of the Indian Ocean, was a perfect example of what happens along a megathrust fault. As the two plates moved against each other, the sea floor rose, causing waves to form, due to the mass displacement of water. Similar to what happens in a wave pool, the waves generated by the up thrust needed somewhere to go. Unfortunately, the relatively shallow waters of the Indian Ocean provided a perfect storm for the impending destruction. What made this particular earthquake unique, was the size and duration of the initial earthquake. The power generated by the earthquake triggered seismic activity around the world, felt hours after the initial event. While we cannot predict exactly when an earthquake will occur, or prevent them from happening, we can learn how to better prepare and hopefully diminish the impact of a potentially catastrophic event.
The Boxing Day Earthquake 6 References Athukorala, P., & Resosudarmo, B. P. (2005). The Indian Ocean Tsunami: Economic Impact,
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- Fall '16
- Geology, Indian Ocean, Tsunami, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake