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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Tsunami Factoids

Some interesting facts related to the tsunami that recently hit Asia:
  • The current death toll estimates of 85,000-100,000 would make this by far the deadliest tsunami on record, more than doubling the 36,000 deaths caused by an 1883 tsunami in Java and Sumatra.
  • The earthquake that triggered the tsunami was the largest earthquake since 1964. It is the fourth largest earthquake since recordings of magnitude began in 1899.
  • According to a NASA scientist, the earthquake may have caused the Earth to spin 3 microseconds faster and to tilt about an inch on its axis.
  • The Nicobar Islands and Simeulue Island shifted out to sea due to tectonic plates beneath the Indian Ocean moving as much as 98 feet.
  • The tsunami traveled more than 3,000 miles from the epicenter to the coast of Africa, arriving with sufficient force to kill people and destroy property.
  • The tsunami caused waves as high as 30 feet in some places.
  • The world's biggest reinsurer, Germany's Munich Re, estimated the damage to buildings and foundations in the affected regions would be at least $13.6 billion.
  • The $35 million in U.S. aid pledged so far translates to roughly what we are spending every 4.5 hours in Iraq. Bush is claiming that this pledge is 'only the beginning', so hopefully we'll see a substantial increase in this figure in the near future.
  • Thanks to the Cascadia Subduction Zone, Washington, Oregon, and Northern California are the most likely places to be affected by a tsunami in the United States.