A devastating earthquake and a resulting tsunami hit coastal areas of Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004. The quake was the second strongest ever recorded since 1900, with a Richter magnitude of 9.3 according to Northwestern University, though the USGS suggested a magnitude of 9.0. The epicenter was 155 km west of the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The earthquake resulted from the rupturing of the subduction zone between the India plate and the overriding Burma microplate with a vertical uplift of 7.0 to 10 m at the ocean floor. This created a massive tsunami with wave heights reaching up to 24 meters. The casualties from the disaster were in excess of 310,000. The tsunami affected Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Maldives, Malaysia, Somalia, Tanzania and Kenya, as well as other countries around the Indian Ocean. Read More.