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Earthquake Moves Island of Sumatra
2004 12 27

Los Angeles, CA, -- The magnitude 9.0 earthquake off Indonesia moved the island of Sumatra about 100 feet to the southwest, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The earthquake occurred off Sumatra's northwestern tip in an active geological region and ruptured an estimated 600-mile-long stretch of the Earth beneath the Indian Ocean.

The quake was the largest since a magnitude 9.2 quake struck Prince William Sound, Alaska, in 1964. It triggered the first deadly tsunami in the Indian Ocean since 1883, civil engineer Costas Synolakis of the University of Southern California said.

The enormous swells of water affected eight countries, and the death toll surpassed 23,000 by Monday morning.

Although a tsunami occasionally appears as a massive wave, more often it is like a fast-moving tide that keeps rising well past the normal high-water level. Once the water reaches its peak, it recedes rapidly, often causing even more damage.

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