2004 Indonesian tsunami remembered on NGC

Ten years ago, on Dec. 26, 2004, a tsunami devastated 14 countries and took a quarter of a million lives — the deadliest recorded tsunami in history. Anyone around at that time surely recalls the worldwide shock at the destruction, as well as the global humanitarian response it inspired.

next mega tsunami

Now, a new National Geographic Channel (NGC) special will look into that past event and see if it gives us any clue for the future. The Next Mega Tsunami, premiering Dec. 26 at 9pm ET/PT on the network, finds scientists searching for clues along the tsunami-raaged coasts of Indonesia with the hope of better preparing people for the next time one hits. They are racing to discover where and when the next one could strike — and how destructive it could be. Experts used to believe that the biggest killer waves were generated only in a handful of regions, but mounting evidence now suggests that more of the world’s coasts, from California to Australia, could be in grave danger.

“That was a wake-up call for the world,” says Charles Rubin in in the special. “And the more we can understand how often tsunamis occur, how big are they, we can help people plan for the future and live much safer lives.”

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“Professors Charles Rubin and Kerry Sieh refuse to be caught off-guard again — as the entire world was by this devastating tsunami. Another such disaster could strike, and in more locations than originally expected. Before 2004, the only massive megathrust earthquakes recorded by instruments were in Russia, Chile and Alaska. Most parts of the world had no instrumental record of a megaquake, so those places, including Indonesia, were thought to be safe from them. In The Next Mega Tsunami, join the scientists as they go back in time to examine the history of tsunamis. Watch as they look into the ocean and explore underground to discover when and where giant waves struck, even before any printed records. What they find might help predict where the next wave could hit.”

Following this special, NGC will encore Tsunami: Day of Destruction, which uses amateur video footage and firsthand accounts to recount how one of the deadliest natural disasters in history unfolded.

The Next Mega Tsunami premieres Dec. 26 at 9pm ET/PT on NGC.

Tsunami: Day of Destruction airs Dec. 26 at 10pm ET/PT on NGC.


Photo credit:  National Geographic Channels/Sam Mortimore