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Why Didn’t the Tsunami Hit Singapore & Australia?

By Murray Bourne, 03 Jan 2005

The 26th Dec 2004 tsunami had no effect here in Singapore - we didn't feel the earthquake, either.

Singapore is at the south-eastern end of the Strait of Melaka. This narrow body of water would funnel the energy of a tsunami and increase the wave's speed and force. But lucky for us, this didn't happen.

Similarly, considering that Australia is closer to Aceh than India or Africa, it is surprising that the effects of the tsunami were not felt in Western Australia.

The simulation in the New York Times interactive showed the waves going West, East and North, but losing power to the south. This was because the fault line was in a roughly north-west/south-east direction and most of the energy was dissipated at right angles to the fault line, as can be seen in this screen shot from the simulation:


The tsunami did not affect the Strait of Melaka or Singapore because the epicentre was on the southern side of Sumatra.

However, there has been disturbing news from Thai seismologist, Dr Smith Dharmasaroja, that the epicentre for future earthquakes is likely to be further north than before. If the next epicentre is near the Nicobar Islands, then we will need to batten down the hatches here in Singapore...

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