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Deadly Christmas Tsunami Strikes

Earthquake Spawns Tsunami


Kalutara, Sri Lanka During Tsunami

Kalutara, Sri Lanka During December 26, 2004 Tsunami

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami swept across the Indian ocean, spawned by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Aside from Indonesia, the island nation of Sri Lanka likely suffered the most tsunami casualties, with the death toll over 155,000.

DigitalGlobe’s Quickbird satellite captured an image of the tsunami devestation around Kalutara, Sri Lanka, on December 26, 2004, at 10:20 a.m. local time—about an hour after the first in the series of waves hit. A Quickbird image taken on January 1, 2004, shows the normal ocean conditions. Water is flowing out of the inundated area and back into the sea, creating turbulence offshore. Some near-shore streets and yards are covered with muddy water. It is possible that the image was acquired in a “trough” between wave crests. Imagery of nearby beaches shows that the edge of the ocean had receded about 150 meters from the shoreline just prior to the tsunami.

High-resolution Tsunami images:

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