National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2006

Northwest Sumatra and offshore islands field survey after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami

Jaffe, B.E., J.C. Borrero, G.S. Prasetya, R. Peters, B. McAdoo, G. Gelfenbaum, R. Morton, P. Ruggiero, B. Higman, L. Dengler, R. Hidayat, E. Kingsley, W. Kongko, Lukijanto, A. Moore, V.V. Titov, and E. Yulianto

Earthq. Spectra, 22(S3), S105–S135, doi: 10.1193/1.2207724 (2006)

An International Tsunami Survey Team (ITST) conducted field surveys of tsunami effects on the west coast of northern and central Sumatra and offshore islands 3–4 months after the 26 December 2004 tsunami. The study sites spanned 800 km of coastline from Breuh Island north of Banda Aceh to the Batu Islands, and included 22 sites in Aceh province in Sumatra and on Simeulue Island, Nias Island, the Banyak Islands, and the Batu Islands. Tsunami runup, elevation, flow depth, inundation distance, sedimentary characteristics of deposits, near-shore bathymetry, and vertical land movement (subsidence and uplift) were studied. The maximum tsunami elevations were greater than 16 m, and the maximum tsunami flow depths were greater than 13 m at all sites studied along 135 km of coastline in northwestern Sumatra. Tsunami flow depths were as much as 10 m at 1,500 m inland. Extensive tsunami deposits, primarily composed of sand and typically 5–20 cm thick, were observed in northwestern Sumatra.

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