On October 25th 2010, an earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami struck the Mentawai Islands, a group of four large islands – Siberut, Sipora, Pagai Utara and Pagai Seletan - situated off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia.
“Tsunami” is a Japanese word in which “tsu” means harbor and “nami” means wave. Thus the word means “harbor wave”. Tsunami is a series of waves that can travel at speeds averaging 450 (and up to 600) miles per hour in the open ocean. Most of tsunamis are caused by earthquake even though landslides, volcanic eruptions, and even meteorites can also generate a tsunami. From an initial tsunami generating source area, waves travel outward in all directions much like the ripples caused by throwing a rock into a pond.
PASADENA, Calif. – A NASA-led research team has successfully demonstrated for the first time elements of a prototype tsunami prediction system that quickly and accurately assesses large earthquakes and estimates the size of resulting tsunamis.
An 8.8 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of central Chile early morning on Saturday, February 27, 2010 at 3:34 a.m. local time, about 200 miles southwest of the Chilean capital of Santiago, killing several hundred people and exposing millions of people to strong shaking that toppled many buildings. The quake damaged houses, bridges and highways in Santiago, the capital, though a few flights managed to land at the airport and subway service resumed. Concepcion's airport remained closed to commercial traffic.