A very common case study for earthquakes is the South-East Asian Tsunami of 2004. Other case studies include San Francisco 1989, Kobe 1995 and Haiti 2010.
On 26 December 2004 there was a massive and sudden movement of the Earth’s crust under the Indian Ocean. This earthquake was recorded at magnitude 9 on the Richter Scale and as it happened under the ocean, caused a devastating sea wave called a tsunami.
The epicentre of the earthquake occurred 200 kilometres west of the island of Sumatra in the Indian Ocean. The earthquake itself was caused by the subduction of the Indo-Australian plate under the Eurasian plate.
As the Indian plate (part of the Indo-Australian plate) moved underneath the Burma plate (part of the Eurasian plate) the crustal rocks stuck as they moved past one another. At 08:00 local time, the pressure build-up was too great and the crustal rocks snapped, causing an earthquake.
When this happened the sea floor was pushed upwards, displacing a huge volume of water and creating the devastating tsunami waves.
As a result, active earthquake zones are closely monitored for seismic activity including the use of tiltmeters and laser equipment. They measure earth movements and sophisticated sound recording equipment to monitor earth tremors.
In developed countries such as the USA, constructing earthquake proof buildings, such as the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco which sways with the movement of the earth, has helped to reduce the damage caused by earthquakes.
Despite all of these measures there were few warnings or successful predictions of the Indian Ocean Tsunami. Most of the countries affected were developing countries without the funds for these sophisticated methods of detection.
They also lacked the improved communications which might have allowed them to evacuate coastal areas in time. The only warning they received was the retreat of sea water from beaches before the wave hit.
Give methods used to predict and plan for an earthquake.