Talk:2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami/Archive 1

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Radio Australia [1] claims that the vibrations were felt as far as London. Is that true? Jam2k 14:03, Dec 26, 2004 (UTC)

The British Geological Survey in Edinburgh picked up the tremors and it sent their measuring equipment of the scale. I inserted that into this article, thinking it was rather interesting but I note that it has since been removed. -- Graham ☺ | Talk 21:26, 27 Dec 200

According to TV reports, it was felt in Lisbon, Portugal (

oh really? didn't feel a thing here in kuala lumpur though. :)

'Felt' in London, etc., by seismological recording instruments, not by people. - MPF 14:54, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

-- The quake showed up on many of the instruments in the Seis lab I work for in the United States, but that does not mean that it was felt here.

Hi there, I changed the link from "magnitude" to "Moment magnitude scale". It was always linking to that page. I did this to highlight that the Richter scale is not technically used, because it saturates at greater than 8.3-8.6.

-- It is enough to say magnitude though. Magnitude alone does not specify that the ricter scale is used. However, Moment Mag is always used for large world wide earthquakes. In modern seismology ricter scale is almost never used it is only applicable to one style of seismometer (torsion wood anderson) and a specific type fault..

-- In the first paragraph it says "worst natural disaster in modern history", because of the widespread impact. The usual scale for 'bad' is number of deaths; so far, this quake isn't even close to the Tangshan earthquake in 1976. Maybe a native speaker of English can correct this? 17:46, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Impact on Earth rotation

Good day. Rumor has it the planet's rotation was affected slightly. Any confirmation? 18:13, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yep, see here [2]. --Andylkl 18:25, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Since 600 mi (1000 km) of subduction fault are said to have slipped during the quake, one can only assume that untold trillions of tons of crustal rock shifted position very abruptly. Sounds like that would be enough to cause some "small" change to the center of mass of the Earth, which would indeed affect how the planet rotates.

See [3]. Individual earthquakes usually don't have a significant effect on rotation, but quakes on the scale of the Great Chilean Earthquake or the Good Friday Earthquake produce detectable changes in gravity. ᓛᖁ♀ 22:03, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Changes, in theory, might happen regarding rotation (a slight slowing down), possibly axis (a "wobble") and the shape of our gravitational field (but not gravity itself). Please note that the article cited in footnote 7 confuses "rotation" with "orbit" and fails to cite sources on the "axis" quote. I'm looking for a source and have ony found a quote by Enzo Boschi Italy's National Institute of Geophysics suggesting a rotational disturbance. -- Zosodada

I just saw on Fox news that the quake made earth's rotation move 1/10,000 of a second faster, changed the article.

But Fox isn't cited in the following footnote. Until that can be cited with a reliable source I'm going to change the last sentence and the footnote to the current statement coming from a USGS spokesman. -- Zosodada
I think "change in the rotation of the earth" should be clarified. The article says that the earth rotated 1/10,000 th of a second faster; is that 1/10,000th of a second per day? per year? Or is it just the total time by which the earth's rotation is going to be off? --ashwatha 21:02, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Ashwatham, changed as per above note. No citation on the figure. USGS says more time is needed to calculate. See new link/footnote. --Zosodada

Burma is now known as Myanmar

Burma is not correct name. --Kosudo CONMEBOL 18:53, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"It will always be Burma to me!" (OK. I'll update the image.) Bogdan | Talk 19:06, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Done. Bogdan | Talk 19:12, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I hate to be difficult, but "Burma" is the correct English name of the country known in Burmese as Myanmar, just as "Germany" is the correct English name of the country known in German in Deutschland. The fact that an unelected military regime chooses to call it Myanmar in English doesn't alter that. Aung San Suu Kyi, the elected leader of the Burmese nation, calls it Burma. Adam 23:38, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)

From the Burma article, the name change is not universally recognized. I would think the prudent solution would be the one I've seen on most maps: Write it as "Myanmar," as they call themselves, and put "Burma" in parentheses after it, i.e. "Myanmar (Burma)". Just calling it Burma would be like, in 1812, the United States appearing on British maps as "The Royal Colonies of North America" or something to that effect, but Burma is the more common name, so it should be listed for convinience.

--cuiusquemodi 01:47, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

That is a false analogy, for reasons made clear in my comments above. And since when do we call countries in English by the "name they call themselves"? Do we call Germany Deutschland? India Bharat? China Chung-guo? Egypt al-Misr? Greece Ellas? Adam 02:08, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The official name of the country formerly known as Burma is now Myanmar. There is no disputing this. Myanmar is the name that the current government uses (regardless of your opinion of the current government) and that is the name used by the United Nations [4]. Even if all Wikipedians agree with the US government that Aung San Suu Kyi should be in power and not under house arrest, her opinion is not really relevant to the official name of the country as used in Wikipedia. By the way, the US government calls it "Burma (Myanmar)", [5] but again, Wikipedia shouldn't reflect the US State Department POV. It should reflect the name used by the country's government and the United Nations, which is the most NPOV source possible. --Kosudo CONMEBOL 02:49, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)
The official names of the countries commonly known as Greece and Hungary are the Hellenic Republic and the Country of the Magyars, respectively. Most English speakers learned of those nations as the former, however, just as they learned of Myanmar as Burma, and our respective articles are titled accordingly per our "title as common name" convention.
No nation's government—legitimate or not—has control over what it's called in foreign languages, and although they can make their wishes known, it's not incumbent on distant foreigners to honor them (something they're not likely to do if they don't recognize that government's authority). Alexandria may officially be الإسكندرية (al-Iskandariya), but two and a half millennia of heritage trump the whim of a conquering empire, even after being replaced by a government universally recognized as legitimate. (And let's not forget that some of us consider Aung San Suu Kyi's deposed government to be the official one, despite the junta's de facto governance.)
Lastly, the organization of the United Nations is a forum, not the government of the world. It has no authority to mandate what a country is called, but merely how it's referred to in its own proceedings. ADH (t&m) 08:27, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)
Speaking of false analogies, those are examples of very entrenched alien or traditional designations, not modern situations in which the local government officially changed the name. In those events we usually go along, like with "Zimbabwe" (Rhodesia), "Democratic Republic of Congo" (Zaire), "Belarus" (Byelorussia), "Malaysia" (Malaya), "Tanzania" (Tanganyika & Zanzibar), "Thailand" (Siam) and the city name of "Istanbul" (Constantinople)... all of which I believe you'll find used today by Washington, London, Ottawa, Canberra, etc. (I mean, gee, most U.S. residents call the United Kingdom "England"; does that mean we should use that term instead here on Wikipedia?)
If your real objection is that the government-in-fact of the country didn't have the legitimacy to change it, then focus on that, because it stands a chance of actually being compelling. But you'll still have to get over the hurdle that there are plenty of non-democratic governments out there, and the international community still recognises them. Like the UN does with Myanmar's. Tverbeek 03:14, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

which plates?

it seems to me that that is the australian (or indo/australian) and eurasian plates, not the phillipines plate as said in the article... at least according to the US Geological Survey (which may or may not define plates differently than others) - according to this map:

can someone who knows about this either explain why not or change the article to the correct plate names? thanks...

I moved this post down from the top.
Good catch! That was embarrassing. I just rewrote the section using what info is on the USGS page but it could do with a good going over by someone more knowledgeable than me. And I'm not sure I made the whole sub-plate thing clear enough. BanyanTree 06:21, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Some of the news here in Australia is saying it's 9.1 richters. [maestro] 07:38, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The article is reporting in moment magnitude scale, not Richter scale. The Richter scale is considered reliable between 2.0 and 6.0 as it tends to rate all big earthquakes as being roughly the same number. Moment magnitude is accurate above 3.5. USGS (and Australian Broadcasting Company) are still reporting 9.0 as of my last check. BanyanTree 07:59, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Image:2004 Indonesia Tsunami.gif

Anyone know how to edit Image:2004 Indonesia Tsunami.gif to slow it down? - it cycles so fast you can't really see the detail very well. About half its current speed would be a lot better - MPF 18:44, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Works here. Well, good graphic but also Somalia was hit. --ThomasK 18:54, Dec 27, 2004 (UTC)

Yes it works, but each cycle only lasts 2.5 seconds; it would look a lot better if each cycle lasted 5 seconds before repeating - MPF 19:05, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I tried at 0.2 for each frame (5.2 sec.), but it looks pathetically slow. —Cantus 19:24, Dec 27, 2004 (UTC)

Thanks; that's a lot better now! - MPF 19:41, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I forgot to note it here. I think I settled on like .175 s/frame. Not sure why the file size shot up though. -- Cyrius| 19:53, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Reports are coming in from as far afield as Kenya and Mauritius... surely something of the wave must have hit Madagascar too, yet there's no mention of it here. Anyone know what damage, if anything, occurred there - and places like Diego Garcia, for that matter? Grutness|hello? Grutness.jpg 23:51, 27 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Can't find anything on google: last news report from madagascar was on 24th December. However with many communications networks in the area down I don't think we're going to know the full cost of this even for some days yet. -- Graham ☺ | Talk 00:00, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
According to [6], "residents had seen no ill effects", whilst [7] says homes and businesses had been damaged. As for Diego Garcia, the only news items Google News is picking up mentions it solely as the nearest US military base to the area. -- Michael Warren | Talk 00:02, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I found something on Reuters AlertNet, which i added in. Grutness|hello? Grutness.jpg 00:11, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think it might have been lost in the sudden run of vandalism experienced at this article this evening. Can you check? -- Graham ☺ | Talk 00:47, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It was and I've put it back now. violet/riga (t) 00:52, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

First Disclosure of the Gries'/Wikinaut's Moon theory: Full Moon on day of earthquake

After the total solar eclipse of 1999, (solar eclipse = new moon), a great earthquake happened which struck Greece and Turkey. Many other severe earthquakes took place after or close to a full or new moon event. My theory stays the same for the Indian Ocean earthquake, which happened the day of full moon and close to a perigee, where the combined gravitational force of moon and sun are stronger than to other times, which increase the likelihood of severe earthquake caused by extraordinary strong terrestrial (land) tides, especially in equatorial regions.

See also Full_moon_cycle, perigee, section terrestrial tides (land tides) in article Tide --Wikinaut 00:37, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Can you please leave original research or speculation out of this article? Many thanks. -- Graham ☺ | Talk 00:45, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
It's out of the article now but kept here in the right place. However, the full moon status should be added back to the article, because it could be important and is a fact. --Wikinaut 01:03, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Yes it could be important, but it doesn't belong there at the moment. If you can find some sort of reference to back it up then that would warrant it's inclusion. violet/riga (t) 01:11, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
All readers of this talk page are kindly invited to support my theory. I developed the theory after the August 1999 earthquake in Greece/Turkey - just right after a total solr eclips - and found some evidences for its truth. At the moment, I am busy with the MediaWiki Developers Conference in Berlin - I developed Email notification and authentication - and cannot back-up my theory in a couple of hours, but with the help of some statistic gurus having access to historical data and correlations program, this could be done in the next few following days. Please add any of your findings provisionally here or on my page User:Wikinaut/Moon-Earthquake-Theory
If you want to correlate between phase/perigee of the moon and seismic events, notations of this data in Wikipedia will be of zero value to you. Do your research from primary sources (e.g. the folks who track earthquake data, and astronomical models); they'll be more complete than Wikipedia, which is - by its very nature - anecdotal. For that matter, start by checking for existing research; this isn't exactly a new idea. Tverbeek 01:40, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

---> please follow the further discussion on my ad-hoc page User:Wikinaut/Moon-Earthquake-Theory to keep this article-talkpage free from theories, thanks --Wikinaut 01:48, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Death of Brazilian diplomat not confirmed yet

Hi. In the section regarding citizens of countries that were not struck by the tsunamis, the article reports that a Brazilian diplomat and her son died in Thailand. Af of yet, however, the deaths have not been confimed either by the Brazilian Foreign Affairs Ministry or by the diplomat's family in Brazil. Right now, the two ar officially listed as "missing". I'll make the change in the article and, if and when said deaths are in fact confirmed, we can revert it back to the previous version. Regards, Redux 04:22, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Death of diplomat and son have now been confirmed. Someone had already altered the article to that effect, so I just improved the text (really no need to say "according to Brazilian authorities". Was that some sort of "answer" to prevent reverting the data? If some people actually took the time to read the talk page before editing the article, they'd know that that was the intention all along: only report the deaths once the Brazilian/Thai authorities confirmed them) and updated to reflect two other missing Brazilian nationals. Regards, Redux 18:06, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Synchronizing with Wikinews

Hi, I'm checking the Wikinews article as well and I have noted that it's not updated as often as this article is, especially the toll count. Maybe we can add a link to that page somewhere in the article to divert people there as well? Jam2k 19:24, Dec 28, 2004 (UTC)

It's the first external link listed, though admittedly not prominent. BanyanTree 19:32, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)


"The quake and the resulting tsunamis are being called the worst natural disaster in modern history, even though it was not the most deadly, because of the limited nature of the impact."

The last bit of that sentence used to read "because of the widespread nature...", after a re-wording I did a while ago. This was changed a while back to "limited nature". I changed it back to "widespread", and my edit was reverted as suspected vandalism (understandable, given the current state of affairs and the awkwardness of the sentence).

I was originally trying to say that the reason this is the worst natural disaster, despite not being the deadliest, is that the impact is widespread. I can see where people might misunderstand the sentence. I think the idea is worth expressing, although I'm at a bit of a loss for how to do so unambiguously.

The current sentence is, IMO, more subjective, as it simply says that the situation is the worst natural disaster.

uFu 21:29, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Yes, the vandal changed it to "limited" at 20:03. Someone accidentally changed it back to "limited" during reversions, and I thought maybe they did this change intentionally out of confusion, so I switched to simpler wording. But the original "widespread" wording is probably best. -- Curps 21:35, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Well, I'd hesitate to call the change to "limited" vandalism -- the text was sufficiently ambiguous that the contributor may been well-intentioned. I'll make another attempt to put it back, and hope it doesn't get reverted (and hope it gets rewritten to remove the ambiguity!) -- uFu 21:42, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
No, it was definitely vandalism: -- Curps 21:45, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Oh, that guy. Okay, that's the last time I give someone the benefit of the doubt ;) -- uFu 21:50, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)