Monday, September 24, 2018
The day after Christmas in 2004, an undersea earthquake occurred near the Indonesian island of Sumatra, triggering 30-foot waves that roiled the Indian Ocean as far as East Africa and killed at least 225,000 people in a dozen countries. In 2011, an immense underwater earthquake shook Japan, triggering a tsunami that destroyed the Fukushima nuclear reactor and decimated a large swath of the country’s eastern coast. While earthquakes are common, some, like the megathrust quakes off Indonesia and Japan, are particularly devastating. “On a global scale, they produce the Earth’s largest earthquakes because they occur along the Earth’s largest faults,” says Bill Barnhart, an earthquake specialist at the University of Iowa.