Case Study – Earthquake Analysis

Case Study – Earthquake Analysis

Case Study Proposal Assignment:

An earthquake with a magnitude of 9.3 megathrust took place on December 26, 2004 at 07:59 1300 km along the oceanic subduction zone (Titov et al., 2005). The location of this oceanic subduction zone is 100 km west of Sumatra and the Nicobar and Andaman Islands (Titov et al., 2005). The epicentre of this earthquake was off the west coast of Sumatra island and it was caused by subduction (Okal & Seth, 2005). The destructive waves created by this earthquake were 10m in vertical displacement and 20m in horizontal displacement (Okal & Seth, 2005). As a result of these strong waves, other countries along the coastline of Indian Ocean including east Africa to Thailand also suffered heavy damages (Titov et al., 2005). The damages were worth billions of dollars and this event caused thousands of causalities (Titov et al., 2005).

Along with the deaths of many individuals as well as damages to the property, ecosystem also suffered significant damages (Kain et al., 2014). 6.5 to 27% of forest ecosystems, 41-100% of coral reef ecosystems and 51 to 100% of mangrove ecosystems were damaged (Kain et al., 2014). Physical damages to these ecosystems also occurred affecting the function and structure of the coastal ecosystems (Kain et al., 2014). Moreover, the ecosystem’s ability to support marine life was also damaged. Katchal, Trinkat Islands, Nancowry and Camorta are amongst the affected coastal ecosystems (Sridhar, 2006). Sea grasses, mangroves, coral reefs, estuarine mudflats, etc. were all badly damaged on these islands (Sridhar, 2006). Furthermore, despite being the smallest island with an elevation of more than 20 m, Trinkat suffered the maximum amount of damage (Ramachandran, 2005). The other three islands are low-lying and their coastlines as well as settlements have also been damaged (Ramachandran, 2005). Moreover, tsunami destroyed many structures forming debris. This debris further pollutes the coastal waters as a result of coastal dumping (Ramachaasndran, 2005). This in turn will negatively impact the coastal ecosystems as the marine life living in these coastal waters will be destroyed (Ramachandran, 2005). In addition, the tsunami collected many non-biodegradable materials such as plastic etc. along its way, further contributing to debris build-up (Ramachandran, 2005). This catastrophic event also resulted in many other damages like chemical leakages, eutrophication of water, salt-water intrusion as well as decomposition of flora and fauna (Ramachandran, 2005).

In conclusion, the main focus of this paper is to determine how this event has impacted on the ecosystem including marine life. This paper will also be focusing on how the ecosystem of the areas effected has been resilient to the damage and which aspects of the environment made it more vulnerable to the damage. Lastly, this paper will be discussing the preventive measures that could be implemented in order to control the damage. Case Study – Earthquake Analysis

Outline for Term Paper:

  • Introduction:
    • Description of the event: what, where, when
    • Affected areas
    • Recovery: relocation, reconstruction, monitoring efforts
  • Causes
    • What were the triggering events?
    • Cascading events: How did one hazard lead to another.
    • Risk map assessment: before and after the event.
  • Ecological impact
    • How it impacted ecosystem including marine life and coastal waters.
    • Resilience of the ecosystem.
    • Vulnerability of the environment and the risk zones
  • Preventative measures
    • How to prevent ecological damage
    • Risk management and risk assessment
    • How could this event have been handled for effectively?
  • Conclusion
    • How to monitor future disasters
    • Importance of research and education to prevent further damage.



Kain, C., Gomez, C., Wassmer, P., Lavigne, F., & Hart, D. (2014). Truncated dunes as evidence of the 2004 tsunami in north sumatra and environmental recovery post‐tsunami. New Zealand Geographer, 70(3), 165-178. 10.1111/nzg.12052

Ramachandran, S., Anitha, S., Balamurugan, V., Dharanirajan, K., Ezhil Vendhan, K., Divien, I. P.,Udayaraj, A. (2005). Ecological impact of tsunami on nicobar islands (camorta, katchal, nancowry and trinkat). Current Science, 89, 195-200.

Sridhar, R., Thangaradjou, T., Kannan, L., Ramachandran, A., & Jayakumar, S. (2006). Rapid assessment on the impact of tsunami on mangrove vegetation of the great nicobar island. Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing, 34, 89-93.

Stein, S., & Okal, E. A. (2005). Speed and size of the sumatra earthquake. Nature, 434(7033), 581-2. Retrieved from

Titov, V., Rabinovich, A. B., Mofjeld, H. O., Thomson, R. E., & Frank, I. G. (2005). The global reach of the 26 december 2004 sumatra tsunami. Science, 309, 2045-2048.

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