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All of them are believed to be greater than magnitude 9, but no accurate measurements were available at the time.
The 2002 Sumatra earthquake is believed to have been a foreshock, predating the main event by over two years.
The raising of the sea floor significantly reduced the capacity of the Indian Ocean, producing a permanent rise in the global sea level by an estimated 0.1 millimetres (0.004 in).
Locations of initial earthquake and all aftershocks measuring greater than 4.0 from 26 December 2004 to 10 January 2005.
The megathrust earthquake was unusually large in geographical and geological extent.
An estimated 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) of fault surface slipped (or ruptured) about 15 metres (50 ft) along the subduction zone where the Indian Plate slides (or subducts) under the overriding Burma Plate.
Great earthquakes such as the Sumatra-Andaman event, which are invariably associated with megathrust events in subduction zones, have seismic moments that can account for a significant fraction of the global earthquake moment across century-scale time periods.
The most recent studies in 2006 have obtained a magnitude of The hypocentre of the main earthquake was approximately 160 km (100 mi) off the western coast of northern Sumatra, in the Indian Ocean just north of Simeulue island at a depth of 30 km (19 mi) below mean sea level (initially reported as 10 km (6.2 mi)).The volcanic activity that results as the Indo-Australian Plate subducts the Eurasian Plate has created the Sunda Arc.As well as the sideways movement between the plates, the sea floor is estimated to have risen by several metres, displacing an estimated 30 cubic kilometres (7.2 cu mi) of water and triggering devastating tsunami waves.This quickly elevated the height and increased the speed of waves, completely destroying the nearby Indonesian town of Lhoknga.Indonesia lies between the Pacific Ring of Fire along the north-eastern islands adjacent to New Guinea, and the Alpide belt that runs along the south and west from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Flores to Timor.
This quake, together with the Good Friday earthquake (Alaska, 1964) and the Great Chilean earthquake (1960), account for almost half of the total moment.