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The effect of the Sumatra earthquake was exacerbated by the fact that the fault rupture occurred only 10 km below the earth's surface, says Meltzer. Had the earthquake occurred at a depth of 100-300 km, its energy would have been attenuated.
The Sumatra earthquake registered 9.0 on the Richter scale, making it the fourth largest in the world since 1900 and the most powerful since the 1964 Alaska earthquake. The tsunami unleased by the earthquake has killed more than 150,000 people in Asia and Africa.