Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Massive Quake Triggers Deadly Waves in Asia

The strongest earthquake in 40 years hit Southeast Asia Sunday morning, setting off tsunamis that killed thousands. Measured at 8.9, the earthquake is the most powerful recorded since a 9.2 quake hit Alaska in 1964.

The undersea quake, which struck near northern Indonesia, generated a tsunami that brought massive sea surges to Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and other areas. An estimated 7,000 people have died in the aftermath.

The tsunami that resulted from the 1964 Alaska earthquake killed 112. The most recent major tsunami was in 1998, when more than 2,200 died in areas of Papua New Guinea, to the east of Indonesia.

Seismologists say aftershocks of the quake rippled northwards, from northern Sumatra to near Andaman Island. A total of 17 earthquakes were recorded in the area Sunday, with eight having a magnitude of 6 or more. All were at a relatively shallow depth, 10 kilometers.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit