The wave killed tens of thousands of people and severely damaged the country’s northern, eastern, and southern coastal areas. Read more: The Deadliest Natural Disasters in U.S. History. Several thousand non-Asian tourists vacationing in the region also were reported dead or missing. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Dhanushkodi had officially begun and the slender finger of land had indeed been India’s southern most end. “In earthquakes, a certain number of people die but many more are injured. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Although not at the epicenter of the famous Boxing Day tsunami of 2004, Dhanushkodi still felt the impact. As proof of the record-breaking strength of the tsunami, the last victims of the Boxing Day disaster perished nearly eight hours later when swelling seas and rogue waves caught swimmers by surprise in South Africa, 5,000 miles from the quake’s epicenter. Unseen until the Harbour Waves struck in December 2004. The earthquake that caused the tsunami lasted almost 10 minutes. Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, tsunami that hit the coasts of several countries of South and Southeast Asia in December 2004. Tens of thousands were reported dead or missing in Sri Lanka and India, a large number of them from the Indian Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. A few had even discovered temples and other buildings on the sea surface. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. Indonesian officials estimated that the death toll there alone ultimately exceeded 200,000, particularly in northern Sumatra’s Aceh province. Tsunami waves do not resemble normal sea waves, because their wavelength is far longer. The lack of food, clean water, and medical treatment—combined with the enormous task faced by relief workers trying to get supplies into some remote areas where roads had been destroyed or where civil war raged—extended the list of casualties. “It’s a wave, but from the observer’s standpoint, you wouldn’t recognize it as a wave,” Titov says. The area around Rameswaram is prone to high-intensity geomorphic activity. The resulting tsunami was given various names, including the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, South Asian tsunami, Indonesian tsunami, the Christmas tsunami and the Boxing Day tsunami. The railway links to Dhanushkodi, which once had railway connections to different parts of the country, were entirely destroyed and never restored. The tsunami killed at least 225,000 people across a dozen countries, with Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, and Thailand sustaining massive damage. In the process, massive segments of the ocean floor were forced upward an estimated 30 or 40 meters (up to 130 feet). After the incident of Tsunami and 2015 cyclone, the seashore is closely monitored and barricaded with heavy stone mesh. Two natural disasters struck the coast of Tamil Nadu, both in the month of December — one, a cyclone 50 years ago, and the other, the tsunami of 2004. The Boxing Day tsunami would be the deadliest in recorded history, taking a staggering 230,000 lives in a matter of hours. “The sheer scale of the destruction was just mind-boggling.”. ... people who left this world on 22nd December 1964 at a time. In December 2004, around the 40th anniversary of the deadly cyclone, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the coastline, briefly exposing the submerged part of the town before massive tsunami waves struck the coast. The tsunami was the deadliest in recorded history, taking 230,000 lives in a matter of hours. Kumar, who sells key chains, cool drinks and snacks out of a shack at the entrance to Dhanushkodi, says the nightmare of the 1964 cyclone almost came alive in 2004, when the tsunami struck the Tamil Nadu coast. Thailand was next. An earthquake and tsunami of the magnitude that struck in 2004 is so rare that catastrophic tsunamis are all but unknown in the long cultural histories of India and Sri Lanka, explains Jose Borrero, a tsunami researcher with the University of Southern California and director of eCoast, a marine consultancy based in New Zealand. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. The waves completely obliterated such coastal towns as Kuji and Ōfunato and severely damaged much of the infrastructure in eastern Sendai. On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake occurred, this time near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. bares an even devastated look. On December 26, 2004, at 7:59 am local time, an undersea earthquake with a magnitude of 9.1 struck off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Encouraging tourism to Dhanushkodi has … Omissions? All Rights Reserved. it would had been like many dead bodies how we saw during Tsunami in 2004 December. Some locations reported that the waves had reached a height of 30 feet (9 metres) or more when they hit the shoreline. This rare event was witnessed by the local fishermen. Over the next seven hours, a tsunami—a series of immense ocean waves—triggered by the quake reached out across the Indian Ocean, devastating coastal areas as far away as East Africa. The actual height of the tsunami along a particular section of coastline is a function of both the height of the open ocean wave and local factors.The greatest run-up heights from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami An hour later, on the opposite side of the Indian Ocean, the waves struck the southeastern coast of India near the city of Chennai, pushing debris-choked water kilometers inland and killing more than 10,000 people, mostly women and children, since many of the men were out fishing. ... it would take nature just another night like 1964 (or 2004 Tsunami) to topple us from our foolish egoistic pedestal. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Curious beachgoers even wandered out among the oddly receding waves, only to be chased down by a churning wall of water. Both Borrero and Titov took part in U.S. Geological Survey expeditions in early 2005 to measure the full extent of the tsunami that struck Sumatra. The quake originated in a so-called megathrust fault, where heavy oceanic plates subduct beneath lighter continental plates. “This was the most extreme tsunami event since 1960,” says Borrero, referring to the 8.6-magnitude Chilean earthquake and tsunami that punished the Pacific, including the leveling of Hilo, Hawaii, 15 hours after the quake. Recovery was steady in the eastern and southern zones but was…, Dar es Salaam by the Indian Ocean tsunami; the government was criticized for not doing enough to warn the public about the impending threat.…, The most destructive tsunami ever recorded occurred on December 26, 2004, after an earthquake displaced the seabed off the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Rather than delivering one violent jolt, the quake lasted an unrelenting 10 minutes, releasing as much pent-up power as several thousand atomic bombs. In December 2004, just before the arrival of the Tsunami that affected the Indian Ocean, the sea around Dhanushkodi withdrew about 500 meters from the coast, exposing the submerged part of the city. The tsunami resulted in about $10 billion of property damage and other material losses. “We took a boat all the way from the middle of the island up to Banda Aceh, the hardest hit area, and for hundreds of kilometers it was as if somebody had taken an eraser and erased everything underneath the 20-meter line,” says Titov. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. At 7:59 AM, a 9.1-magnitude earthquake—one of the largest ever recorded—ripped through an undersea fault in the Indian Ocean, propelling a massive column of water toward unsuspecting shores. Located 19 Kms from Rameshwaram and 27 Kms from Talaimannar in Srilanka, Dhanushkodi is the last stretch of land across Pamban bridge which … In December 2004, just before the arrival of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck South India, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600ft) from the coastline, exposing the submerged part of the town for a while. Buildings folded like houses of cards, trees and cars were swept up in the oil-black rapids and virtually no one caught in the deluge survived. In 2004 they witnessed a rare event when just before the Indian Ocean tsunami struck South India the sea around Dhanushkodi … …was struck by a large tsunami that had been generated by an earthquake centred in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia. [8] [9] Geografia. The Pamban-Dhanushkodi express with its 115 passengers was completely eaten by the waves and the entire railway station and tracks submerged. In 2004, the Indian Ocean Tsunami caused the sea off the coast of Dhanushkodi to briefly recede more than 1,000 feet, exposing the submerged part of the town. Updates? Em dezembro de 2004, o mar em torno de Dhanushkodi retrocedeu aproximadamente 500 m da linha da costa, expondo a parte submersa da cidade por um momento antes das ondas do massivo tsunami atingirem a costa. As a result of this, a patch of land of about 0.5 kilometres (0.31 mi) in width, stretching 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) from north to south, submerged under the sea. This rare event was witnessed by local fishermen. As I was walking, saw them pulling out the fishing nets from the sea. “It’s more like the ocean turns into a white water river and floods everything in its path.”. He credits the unsparing destructiveness of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on the raw power of the earthquake that spawned it. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The historical context is that it is the site of one the worst natural disasters to occur in southern India prior to the 2004 Tsunami - the 1964 Cyclone which killed thousands of people and left this town a ghost town. It’s nearly impossible to imagine the 100-foot roiling mountain of water that engulfed the coastal city of 320,000, instantly killing more than 100,000 men, women and children. The ruined buildings are the remnants of a once bustling The historical context is that it is the site of one the worst natural disasters to occur in southern India prior to the 2004 Tsunami - the 1964 Cyclone which killed thousands of people and left this town a ghost town. The only modes of approach to this place is via tempos and jeeps taken for hire from the naval post at Moonram Chatiram. In December 2004, around the 40th anniversary of the deadly cyclone, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the coastline, exposing the submerged part of the town for a while followed by massive tsunami waves that struck the coast. Many claims to have seen the surreal path during the Tsunami. More than 200,000 people were killed by a series of waves that flooded coasts from Indonesia to Sri Lanka and even washed ashore on the…. The ruined buildings are the remnants of a once bustling town that was the launching point for the ferry to Sri Lanka. “Almost no injuries, because it’s such a difficult disaster to survive.”. The Deadliest Natural Disasters in U.S. History. According to the locals, these submerged parts were briefly revealed in the 2004 tsunami when the sea receded some 1,600 feet before rushing back in and reclaiming the town. Whereas the Dhanushkodi tidal waves roared in at night when a colour was not distinguishable, the 2004 waves that were experienced in the morning were black in colour. The death toll in Thailand was nearly 5,400 including 2,000 foreign tourists. Corrections? Despite the time lapse, locals and tourists were caught completely unaware of the imminent destruction. According to local fishermen’s testimony, the 2004 tsunami of the Indian Ocean, the sea receded about 500 meters and had uncovered the ruins of the forgotten habitat of Dhanushkodi. Dhanushkodi … Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/event/Indian-Ocean-tsunami-of-2004, Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). Dhanushkodi localiza-se na ponta da ilha de Pamban, separada do continente pelo Estreito de Palk. Review of Dhanushkodi Beach Point Reviewed June 28, 2020 The historical context is that it is the site of one the worst natural disasters to occur in southern India prior to the 2004 Tsunami - the 1964 Cyclone which killed thousands of people and left this town a ghost town. Declared unfit for living, Dhanushkodi was again hit during the tsunami in 2004, but still survived to tell another tale. It’s completely reversed with tsunamis,” says Titov. The low-lying island country of Maldives reported more than a hundred casualties and immense economic damage. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was an undersea megathrust earthquake that occurred at 00:58:53 UTC on Sunday, 26th December 2004, with an epicentre off the west coast of … Like the 2004 underwater earthquake, this too unleashed a massive tsunami. Vasily Titov is a tsunami researcher and forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Center for Tsunami Research. But some of the worst devastation was reserved for the island nation of Sri Lanka, where more than 30,000 people were swept away by the waves and hundreds of thousands left homeless. The 1964 Rameswaram cyclone (also known as the Dhanushkodi cyclone) was regarded as one of the most powerful storms to ever strike India on record. The 2004 quake ruptured a 900-mile stretch along the Indian and Australian plates 31 miles below the ocean floor. Dhanushkodi is now an abandoned town with only a few local fishermen living there at certain months of the year in makeshift houses. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... John Rafferty, associate editor of Earth sciences at Encyclopædia Britannica, discussing tsunamis. “They are the largest faults in the world and they’re all underwater,” says Titov. The ruined buildings are the remnants of a once bustling town that was the launching point for the ferry to Sri Lanka. It concludes that Dhanushkodi has shrunken in its size. We looked ahead at the remaining ruins, further away from the church. Somehow, we did not want to go and visit them as some exhibits. The system was first identified as an area of low pressure over the Andaman Sea on December 15. The net was so big and it took hours to pull it completely to the shore. The city of Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra was closest to the powerful earthquake’s epicenter and the first waves arrived in just 20 minutes. Some of the rocks from Adam's Bridge were also found washed ashore. The effect was like dropping the world’s largest pebble in the Indian Ocean with ripples the size of mountains extending out in all directions. The tsunami contained twice the energy of all the bombs utilized throughout World War II. Titov emphasizes that tsunamis look nothing like the giant surfing break-style waves that many of us imagine. I got the chance to be with the fishermen while they were on their work. It was during these expeditions that scientists confirmed maximum wave heights of more than 131 feet on the northwestern tip of the island. After the recent tsunami in 2004 Dhanushkodi. Of life and death A boat awaits her man by the sea… Long-term environmental damage was severe as well, with villages, tourist resorts, farmland, and fishing grounds demolished or inundated with debris, bodies, and plant-killing salt water. “[The Indian Ocean tsunami] came ashore in these places that had no natural warning either, because they were far enough away that they didn’t feel any of the earthquake,” says Borrero. That’s how we wrapped Dhanushkodi. The Indian Ocean has a larger part of the land covered inside it. It was 2004, the day after Christmas, and thousands of European and American tourists had flocked to the beaches of Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia to escape the winter chill in a tropical paradise. The historical context is that it is the site of one the worst natural disasters to occur in southern India prior to the 2004 Tsunami - the 1964 Cyclone which killed thousands of people and left this town a ghost town. Woman in a tsunami-damaged village in Tamil Nadu, India, waving for assistance from a hovering helicopter, December 31, 2004. Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 | Facts & Death Toll | Britannica Dhanushkodi is a place which will shake you from inside out, these furious yet gentle waves will remind you of something forgotten, hidden rage and anger will slightly flow in this oceanic water. Once caught in the raging waters, if the currents don’t pull you under, the debris will finish the job. minutes, the tsunami can flow more than 1 km (0.6 mi) inland in areas with large coastal floodplains. https://www.history.com/news/deadliest-tsunami-2004-indian-ocean Sri Lanka is just 19 miles (31km) away from tip of Dhanushkodi. Titov will never forget the scene of widespread devastation he witnessed on Sumatra even months after the tsunami waters had subsided. In December 2004 just before the arrival of 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck South India, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the coastline, exposing the submerged part of the town for a while. In December 2004, around the 40th anniversary of the deadly cyclone, the sea around Dhanushkodi receded about 500 metres (1,600 ft) from the coastline, briefly exposing the submerged part of the town before massive tsunami waves struck the coast. With waves traveling 500 mph across the Indian Ocean, the tsunami hit the coastal provinces of Phang Nga and Phuket an hour and a half later. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. “So without a natural warning, without an official warning and with no history of tsunamis, hitting coastlines full of people, that’s the perfect combination to cause a lot of death and destruction.”. The sea around the island receded by about 500 meters from the coastline, briefly revealing the part of town that had been submerged by the tectonic movement of the 1940s. During the tsunami of 2004, when the sea withdrew backward, they saw the old town under the sea. The tsunami and its aftermath were responsible for immense destruction and loss on the rim of the Indian Ocean. The 1964 cyclone struck Dhanushkodi on 23rd December and the 2004 Tsunami occurred on 26th December, is it mere coincidence that both these major disasters happened exactly 40 years apart? 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