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TitleThe 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami: Lessons Learned in Subduction Zone Science and Emergency Management for the Cascadia Subduction Zone
AuthorCassidy, J F
SourcePure and Applied Geophysics vol. 172, issue 3-4, 2015 p. 835-847,
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20140339
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia; Western offshore region
AreaVancouver Island; Queen Charlotte Islands; Washington; Oregon; California; Sumatra; Canada; United States
Lat/Long WENS-133.0000 -118.0000 55.0000 39.0000
Lat/Long WENS 90.0000 101.0000 14.0000 -1.0000
Subjectsgeophysics; tectonics; earthquakes; earthquake studies; earthquake mechanisms; earthquake damage; tsunami; subsidence; subduction; subduction zones
Illustrationslocation maps
ProgramWestern Canada Geohazards Project, Public Safety Geoscience
AbstractThe 26 December 2004, Mw 9.3 Sumatra earthquake and tsunami was a pivotal turning point in our awareness of the dangers posed by subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis. This earthquake was the world's largest in 40 years, and it produced the world's deadliest tsunami. This earthquake ruptured a subduction zone that has many similarities to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. In this article, I summarize lessons learned from this tragedy, and make comparisons with potential rupture characteristics, slip distribution, deformation patterns, and aftershock patterns for Cascadia using theoretical modeling and interseismic observations. Both subduction zones are approximately 1,100-1,300 km in length. Both have similar convergence rates and represent oblique subduction. Slip along the subduction fault during the 26 December earthquake is estimated at 15-25 m, similar to values estimated for Cascadia. The width of the rupture, *80-150 km estimated from modeling seismic and geodetic data, is similar to the width of the ''locked and transition zone'' estimated for Cascadia. Coseismic subsidence of up to 2 m along the Sumatra coast is also similar to that predicted for parts of northern Cascadia, based on paleoseismic evidence. In addition to scientific lessons learned, the 2004 tsunami provided many critical lessons for emergency management and preparedness. As a result of that tragedy, a number of preparedness initiatives are now underway to promote awareness of earthquake and tsunami hazards along the west coast of North America, and plans are underway to develop prototype tsunami and earthquake warning systems along Cascadia. Lessons learned from the great Sumatra earthquake and tsunami tragedy, both through scientific studies and through public education initiatives, will help to reduce losses during future earthquakes in Cascadia and other subduction zones of the world.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
The magnitude 9.3 Sumatra earthquake of 2004 was the largest subduction earthquake in the world in more than 40 years and generated a devastating tsunami. This article, for a 10-year retrospective Special Volume, summarizes lessons learned from that event, and applications to mitigating hazards in the Cascadia subduction zone of North America. Topics covered include strength and extent of ground shaking, earthquake triggering, aftershock patterns, coastal subsidence and some lessons learned for emergency management.