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Horrific Indian Ocean Tsunami...A Decade Later

It was ten years ago, one day after Christmas, a 9.15 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Indonesia's Aceh province triggered an Indian Ocean tsunami, killing around 226,000 people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, and nine other countries. 

The sights and sounds of this event were beyond belief with entire towns destroyed and raging waters sweeping people away from their loved ones. 

Tsunamis are generated by an undersea disturbance displacing a large volume of water.  And while earthquakes are the most common cause, landslides, volcanoes, and meteor impacts can also trigger them.  Tsunami waves travel fast through deep water.  Speeds can approach 500 to 600 mph, but waves are less than several feet.  But when the waves approach shallow water, the wave height can increase to more than 100 feet. It's assumed a tsunami is the same thing as a large tidal wave.  Instead, a tsunami may approach the shore as a rising tide, a large wave, or a series of breaking waves. 

Japan, you may recall, dealt with its own tsunami in 2011 when a magnitude-9.0 earthquake caused a huge wave to hit the northeastern part of the country.  Here, a new type of warning system has been unveiled.  It includes a series of 80 circular devices.  The motion meters are expected to predict the size of a wave more accurately.  Also, additional seismic stations have been set up across the country. 

At least 1.5 million tons of debris traveled across the Pacific Ocean and ended up along the North and South American coastlines.  Meantime, anti-nuclear protesters in Tokyo are still up in arms over the government's handling of its nuclear program after the meltdown of reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Plant.  Only a handful of the fifty reactors are now operational.

Two devastating tsunamis in ten years.  The hope is history won't repeat itself. 

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