Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union

Coral poaching worsens tsunami destruction in Sri Lanka

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Abstract

Observations of the trail of destruction of the Sumatra tsunami of 26 December 2004 indicate remarkable, small-scale spatial variations, of the order of a few kilometers, of water inundation and destruction in southwestern Sri Lanka [Shiermeier, 2005; Liu et al., 2005] that are much smaller than the tsunami wavelength of ∼100 km.

For example, the town of Peraliya, was awash with an approximately 1.5-km water inundation from a wave of 10 m in height; the inundation there carried the passenger train Samudra Devi (the “Ocean Queen”) inland some 50 m, killing 1700 people. Yet,∼3 km south, in Hikkaduwa, there was a mere 2–3 m wave height, 50-m inundation and no deaths.

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