News, Notes, and Dispatches From Wherever Coconuts Grow

December 26, 2004

Earthquake and Tsunami

The headlines today are full of news about the earthquake and tsunami in South Asia. Here's one page that's trying to summarize the news.

Interesting that there hasn't been a peep about the situation at the Diego Garcia military base. Surely it got hit too, if the Maldives did.

Meanwhile, here's some Flickr coverage of the tsunami.

Posted by brian at December 26, 2004 06:21 PM


It was spared:

Posted by: Ed at January 3, 2005 04:23 PM

Posted on Tue, Jan. 04, 2005
Click here to find out more!

Geography Protected U.S. Diego Garcia Base

Associated Press

HONOLULU - Location and underwater topography helped protect the strategic U.S. military base on the remote island of Diego Garcia from the killer tsunami that raced across the Indian Ocean.

Pacific Fleet officials in Honolulu said Navy facilities and operations on the tiny British-governed atoll were not affected by the Dec. 26 earthquake or the tsunami it caused. Ships stationed at the base have been sent to Southeast Asia to help the relief effort.

"Favorable ocean topography minimized the tsunami's impact on the atoll," the Navy said on its Web site for the base.

An air and naval refueling station that is home to about 4,000 U.S. personnel and support staff, Diego Garcia is the only U.S. military base in the Indian Ocean, with a deep, sheltered harbor to accommodate submarines and warships and a 2 1/4-mile long runway. During the 2003 Iraq war, B-2 stealth bombers flew missions from the base.

The atoll is in the Chagos Archipelago west of the Chagos Trench, a 400-mile-long underwater canyon that runs north and south and plunges to depths of more than 15,000 feet in some areas. The trench is one of the deepest regions of the Indian Ocean.

"The depth of the Chagos Trench and grade to the shores does not allow for tsunamis to build before passing the atoll," the Navy said. "The result of the earthquake was seen as a tidal surge estimated at 6 feet."

A tsunami is a movement of water extending deep below the surface, and a sloping sea floor would force huge amounts of water upward toward a shore.

In addition to the topography of the sea floor around the atoll, its location meant Diego Garcia wasn't in the direct path of the tsunami, said Gerard Fryer, a University of Hawaii geophysicist and an adviser to state civil defense.

Diego Garcia is nearly 2,000 miles from the epicenter of the magnitude 9.0 quake that caused the tsunami.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii notified the U.S. Pacific Command soon after the quake, said a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Diego Garcia:

Pacific Tsunami Warning Center:

Posted by: Hugh Harries at January 5, 2005 12:25 AM

From The Times, January 07, 2005

Boy, 12, found alive in a coconut tree
From Sunetra Chakravarti in Car Nicobar, Nicobar Islands
A 12-YEAR-OLD boy who survived the tsunami was found perched high on a coconut tree on the island of Car Nicobar yesterday.

He had stayed alive eating the fruit of the palm and drinking coconut water, and although deep in shock, appeared to be in relatively good health.

The boy’s mother and father, an Indian welder at the Indian air force base on the island, had given up hope of finding him alive and had travelled to Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. He was being flown to be reunited with them.

Posted by: Hugh Harries at January 7, 2005 04:00 AM