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  Information - US7 The Sumatra earthquake and the Indian Ocean tsunami

Event Information
At 00:58:33 UTC (07:58:53 local time) on December 26, 2004 an earthquake struck in the Indian Ocean, just north of the Simeulue Island, Indonesia. The epicentre of the earthquake was located at 3.316N, 95.854E, 160 km west of Sumatra. At magnitude 9.0 on the moment magnitude scale, this was the 4th largest earthquake ever recorded instrumentally. Sudden vertical movement of the seabed caused by the earthquake displaced massive volume of water, resulting in a tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The tsunami travelled from the west coasts of Indonesia to the east coasts of Africa. Due to the distances involved, the tsunami took anywhere from a few minutes to seven hours to reach the various coastlines in the Indian Ocean. Costal effects were noticed as far as in South Africa, and along the Pacific coasts of North, Central and South America. The reported death toll from the earthquake, the associated tsunami and the resultant coastal floods remains unknown, and could total to anywhere from 190,000 to 310,000 people, with tens of thousands reported missing, and over 1.5 million left homeless, in at least 15 different countries. One-third of the dead may be children. In certain areas, as many as four times more women than men were killed. Measured in live lost, the December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami represent the 6th largest natural disaster in recorded history, and the largest since the 1976 Tangshan earthquake, in China, or the 1970 Bhola cyclone, in Bangladesh. Beyond the heavy toll on human lives, the earthquake and the tsunami produced an enormous environmental impact, which remains largely undetermined. Damage has been inflicted on coastal ecosystems such as mangroves, coral reefs, wetlands, sand dunes, forests and vegetation, animal and plant biodiversity and groundwater. In places, the spread of waste, dirt water, and chemicals has produced pollution, and flooding by salt water has contaminated an unknown number of wells.

The European Geosciences Union is hosting a special symposium on the Sumatra Earthquake and the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December 2004. The special event is intended to bring together leading scientists that have investigated various aspects of this extreme natural phenomenon, including the devastating effects. Organized by Geoscientists, the symposium is intended to inform other scientists, students, the media, decision makers and concerned people. The event is organised with multiple oral and poster presentations, and will be held on Tuesday, 26 April 2005, in the framework of the EGU General Assembly, in Vienna. Presentations will cover different topics, including: (i) analysis of the investigations and monitoring activities conducted during and after the event, (ii) reports on field observations from some of the most devastated areas, (iii) analysis and modelling of the event, (iv) description of local, regional and planetary effects, (v) comparison with other similar catastrophic events, and (vi) a synthesis of the lessons learned for warning and tsunami hazard mitigation. Detailed information on the programme can be found at: (for oral presentations) and at (for poster presentations). The complete list of oral and poster contributions is available at Oral presentations will start at 08.30 and will continue until 15:00. Time for discussion has been schedule, and authors will be available to answer questions. Following the oral presentations, posters will be presented and scientists will also be available for discussion. A dedicated press conference will be held between the oral and the poster sessions.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers


General Statement
The information contained hereafter has been compiled and uploaded by the Session Organizers via the "Organizer Session Form". The Session Organizers have therefore the sole responsibility that this information is true and accurate at the date of publication, and the conference organizer cannot accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made, and he makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with regard to the material published.

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