Monday, December 27, 2004
Why was the earthquake below so deadly? I've taken a good look at the preliminary data, and one thing stands out. The epicenter of this earthquake was a little over six miles deep. Most megathrust quakes occur anywhere from 10-500 miles below the surface. If this quake had occurred at a much deeper depth, chances are the tsunamis would not have formed. Secondly, it is a solid 9 on the Richter scale. 9's are rare. What a 9 means is that this quake had ~30x more energy than an 8. The scale is exponential so to measure a 9, it is the equivalent of 31,800 1 megaton nuclear bombs going off all at once. The quake released so much energy it actually disturbed the rotation of the earth. Any earthquake that shallow and that strong is going to produce tsunamis, and, as in most strong earthquakes in the ocean, the tsunamis killed most of the people. Unfortunately, the countries most devastated by the tsunamis do not have warning systems in place. Keep the people devastated by this natural disaster in your prayers this Feast of St. John, and especially keep Chris Williams in your prayers since he has relatives in Sri Lanka, one of the hardest hit countries in this disaster.