Friday, May 20, 2005

Mommy, Where Do Tsunamis Come from?

Thursday 5/19/2005 22:00: Banda Aceh
I got an education today on how the Tsunami works. I had always pictured something out of the movies, like a giant tidal wave, fifty feet high crashing down upon villagers. That might have been the case if the epicenter had been right off the shore. But this deep-sea earthquake suddenly displaced thousands of cubit kilometric water. The water rose and stated rushing in all directions. If you had been deep-sea diving or were on a cruise ship directly over the epicenter, you would not have felt much. As the water got closer to shore, the ocean became shallower. There was no place for the water to go so it rose up higher and gained force. When it finally hit the shore, it was like a high tide, coming in at 600 km/h! The water just kept coming. It was not like a normal wave that goes in and then comes back out. Like a tide, it stayed, with crushing force for over 45 minutes. This is what caused the majority of the drownings. Aceh was the closest landmass. The earthquake happened at 9:45 on Sunday morning. There was one church in Banda Aceh (rare in this Muslim stronghold) that ran out of their church when the earthquake hit. After it was over, they returned to the church to pray for victims of the earthquake. Fifteen minutes later, the Tsunami struck Banda Aceh and everyone in the church died. You know… I can’t think of a better way to go.

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