I chose to do my case study of the 2004 indian Ocean Tsunami. Mostly, because I remeber being in the 4th grade during it, and everyone talking about how a giant wave stopped the world from spinning for a whole 3 seconds, shaving that time off of our life. Turns out, that was nothing but a rumor made uo by children who couldnt understand the entierty of what was going on, but my interest was piqued.

The tsunami was the result of a 9.3 M underwater earthquake along 2 faults on the northern side of Sumtra. When considering the fact that tsunamis gain speed at deeper depths, and the average depth f 4 km in the Indian Ocean, it let the waved reach a speed of up to 720 km per hour, or about the speed of a jet liner. the waves slowed down marginally as it neared shore, but even the shallowness of the coastal shelf was not enough to deter the massive waves from washing up on shore, up to 2,000 meters inland.

In the aftermath of the waves, it ws discvoered that there had been approxiamtely 230,000 deaths scattered throughout the 14 countries bordering the Indian Ocean that were hit by the tsunami. Relief efforts poured in from around the globe, creating one of the largest civil recovery efforts ever. The recunstruction of the destroyed lands had been a slow process, just because there was so much to do, but by the 10 year mark, the recovery efforts had finally been able to show exactly what it had all been for, as the=ose countries looked like they had never been touched.

Since the 2004 tsunami, there has been the creation of an undersea earthquake monitoring system that had successfully notified the population of possible tsunami inducing events in the indian Ocean, allowing the population to understand more about how to prepare themselves in case the events of December 26th, 2004 ever repeat themselves again.


The Joplin tornado was an EF-5 tornado on the Fujita scale (winds exceeded 200 mph 261 to 318 mph) and killed at least 116 people, although some sources claimed it killed more than that, at about 162 people. The tornado injured more than 1,000 people. In total, the tornado was devastating, affecting 13, 547 people and indirectly impacting 2,500 others. The tornado itself was a mile wide and six miles long and lasted for 38 minutes. It left a 22-mile path of destruction, affecting 1,800 acres of land. It was the deadliest single tornado since modern record keeping began in 1950, (surpassing the June 8, 1953 tornado in Flint, Michigan that killed 166 people). The tornado caused more deaths than the annual number of U.S. tornado deaths in the last three decades- around 55 tornado deaths annually, so the Joplin tornado caused three times as many deaths as this in one single event.

The tornado, as described by survivors, tossed cars “like toys”, flattened buildings, and ripped up pavement. Dead bodies and later body bags littered the ground. An article in National Geographic described the aftermath as like “World War 2 bomb destruction”. Tornados are hazards of thunderstorms, which occur when warm, moist air masses and cold, dry air masses collide. Tornadoes are known to hit the Deep South in early spring. The Joplin tornado may have been caused by warmer-than usual air in the Golf of Mexico, in which temperatures were 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than usual.

I chose this case because the sheer amounts of death and destruction it caused. I wanted to know why. I found in my research these possible reasons for the high death toll and destruction: The sheer magnitude of the event (it was an EF-5), it’s path through densely populated and business areas and large damage area, the characteristics of the homes hit and affected in Joplin by the tornado and the resident’s desensitization to frequent warning sirens.