Sample Geology Research Paper on Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake

Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake

Describe the society before the event detailing education, culture and economic conditions.

 The economic activity of some of those who were affected was fishing, it was confirmed that those who were devastated were living in fishing villages along the coastal areas (Satake & Atwater, 2007).  It was confirmed that their houses and instruments that they used in fishing were swept to and from the sea (Gupta & Sharma, 2006). This was also confirmed from the fact that the fishing boats that docked the coastal area were destroyed except that one that permanently docked the shore that helped during rescue operations where more than fifty people were saved.  They lived in traditional structures that could not resist the swiping effect of the water created by the earthquake. It was confirmed that the tsunami resulting from the earthquake left piles of timber and remains of buildings along the way (Gupta & Sharma, 2006).  They were also involved in manufacturing as an economic activity; before the event, it is ascertained that the structures that were well designed withstood the earthquake shaking and tsunami waves. For instance, the La Farge Cement Plant withstood the effects of this predicament. This confirms that the affected people were participating in manufacturing activities as part of their economic activity.

Their cultural and religious belief had a Muslim foundation as was evident by the Banda Aceh mosque. It was built on strong structures with steel reinforced frames that made it impossible to be destroyed by the earthquake. It was confirmed that the low-lying area around the mosques were swept with the heavily water projectiles (Satake & Atwater, 2007).  Educationally, it was discovered that the inhabitants had proper schooling that made them have skills and knowledge to work in factories and industries. However, it is also reported that majority had no education that made them work in the informal sector like fishing on the coastal areas (Gupta & Sharma, 2006).

Explain the sequence of geologic events that combine to form the natural disaster

It is eluded that earthquake is an abrupt shaking of the earth resulting to breaking and shifting of rocks that occupies beneath the surface of the earth (Hudnut, 2006).  It is believed that the forces are resulting from tectonic plates that have shaped the surface of the earth and they are consistently in slow movement, moving over and past each other (Hudnut, 2006). The movement is at times steady and when they interlock, each prompts itself to release the accumulated energy; the energy is what causes the earth to shake tremendously. The two plates that were involved in this earthquake were the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian plate, the point they met was ruptured to around 10 kilometers deep. The rapturing and shaking of the earth’s surface caused led to collapsing of buildings, bridges and disrupted electricity and telephone lines in the process (Vallée, 2007).  The major problem was the sinking of the tectonic that had a down warping of close to 100 kilometers around the Acer province, it also extended to about 280 kilometers along the coast, which had an effect of hindering rescue operations and restoration of infrastructure like roads and bridges. It is believed that the rapture uplifted the ocean floor that led to a series of dangerous waves of tsunami.


Evaluate the effects of the natural disaster on the societies’ cultural and economic conditions immediately after the event and five to ten years later.

Immediately after the natural disaster, the societies around the areas that the effect was felt experienced disruptions in their daily activities including their cultural and economic conditions. Economically it disrupted the gas and liquid facilities as the state owned Pertamina Petroleum Company was tremendously affected. It is asserted that the earthquake destroyed the fuel depots together with the storage facilities leading to damage and loss of fuel (Kanamori, 2006).  It is believed that the depots of Kreung Raya were not effectively anchored to its foundation and so when the raging tsunami waves came, they were swept entirely. This fuel company employed many of the local facilities who had their means of livelihood entirely dependent on it. Experts eluded that in addition, it affected the income that could be generated through the use of fuels for other activities (Kanamori, 2006).

It is affirmed that the economy of any country or region is depended on the kind of infrastructure that is in place. “Such infrastructures include roads, telecommunication systems, and bridges among others” (Kanamori, 2006). They facilitate business by ensuring prompt supply of goods and services. The devastating effects of the earthquake brought the tsunami waves that in return swept away bridges that connected different transport networks. It was discovered that the bridges were considered vital links to the communities and their activities and for that, even rescue efforts were hindered (Lay et al., 2005).  The swiping of roads and bridges made it difficult for supplies to reach other locations; businesses stalled and hence affected the communities economically. Rescue personnel also noted that power plants were destroyed through the liquefaction thereby disrupting the running of companies and other business (Lay et al, 2005).   It was believed that the power plants were the backbone of the industries and most activities of the societies heavily depended on the power generated from the plants.

It was discovered that fishing and tourism as economic activities were majorly affected as these were the major economic activities of the coastal communities. Five years later, it has been pointed out that the fishing fleet is just 66% because of the damages that were done on the fleet and the industrial infrastructure meaning that there is an adverse economic effect at both local and national levels, this is courtesy of the natural disaster that happened.

It is believed that even many years after the calamity, fishing industry in Sri-lanka is still feeling the effects. There is greater demand for fiberglass to reinforce the boat yards, as many vessels were lost during the earthquake. It has been ascertained that this high demand has led to low quality materials and hence affecting the economic status of the regions by damaging it (Paris et al., 2007).

Culturally it is believed that after ten years after the natural disaster, the drinking water has been contaminated especially water from farm fields due to salt water from the oceans. Analysts have pointed out that this has led to more tourists cancelling their visits to the inland provinces (Paris et al., 2007).  Tourists have also pointed out that there is shipping problem between the straits as the earthquake is believed to have changed the level of the seabed. Even after appealing to the tourists that most of their infrastructures were not destroyed, visitors have been reluctant to resume visits due to psychological reasons.

Draft a list of steps and suggestions that city planners for the community could implement to decrease the loss of the life and property in preparation for a future event.

To decrease the loss of life and property in case of future similar problem, city planners should ensure that those doing constructions bolt bookcases and tall furniture in the houses they are building. They should be well anchored in the housing structures since during earthquakes such items fall causing damage and injuries to people. This should also apply to strongly bolting cabinets on the walls.

Heavy destruction of fuel reservoirs was witnessed during the earthquake and so city planners should ensure that those doing installations of underground fuel pipes install flexible fittings to avoid leakages, as they will be less likely to break during rapture on the earth’s surface.

City planners should consistently inspect buildings constructed to reveal weak structures that should be demolished and initiate repair of cracks on ceilings and foundations. It is ascertained that during such calamities the weak building are vulnerable and in the process fall leading to loss of lives and property. City planners should also offer expert advice to contractors to help them erect strong structures and buildings.

To reduce potential damages in the future, city planners should hire structural designer engineers to provide insights on home repair and how to strengthen sliding glass doors, canopies, garage door (Satake & Atwater, 2007).  Other tips include; city planners ensuring that foundations of houses are strong and are placed on leveled grounds. Advising contractors to use strong materials like concrete and fiber glass in constructions as they can withstand the strong effects of earthquakes. Circuit breakers and switches should be installed in each building to prevent the risk of fires and accidents when the surface of earth is raptured. They should also ensure that water tanks are erected at different places so as the stability of the surface is not affected.


Gupta, M., & Sharma, A. (2006). Compounded loss: the post tsunami recovery experience of

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Hudnut, K.W. (2006). Geologic and geodetic aspects of the December 2004 great Sumatra

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Kanamori, H. (2006). Seismological aspects of the December 2004 great Sumatra-Andaman

earthquake, 2004 great Sumatra earthquakes and Indian Ocean tsunamis of December 26, 2004, and March 28, 2005. Earthquake Spectra 22 (S3): S1–S12.

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Paris, R., et al.  (2007). Coastal sedimentation associated with the December 26, 2004 tsunami in

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Satake, K., & Atwater, B. (2007). Long-Term Perspectives on Giant Earthquakes and Tsunamis

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Vallée, M. (2007). Rupture Properties of the Giant Sumatra Earthquake Imaged by Empirical