Damage caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami on the Southwestern coast of Sri Lanka

Takashi Tomita, Fumihiko Imamura, Tard Arikawa, Tomohiro Yasuda, Yoshiaki Kawata

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39 Citations (Scopus)


The Indian Ocean Tsunami on 26 December 2004 affected Sri Lanka, which is located 1.700 km from the epicenter. A field investigation was conducted along the southwest coast of Sri Lanka to measure tsunami trace heights, investigate the damage, and obtain correct information on the tsunami. The results of the field survey showed that the tsunami arrived on the southwest coasts two and a half hours or more after the earthquake. The average tsunami height was 5 m along the southwest coast and tsunami trace heights of 10 m were found locally. The tsunami destroyed a number of wooden and brick houses, damaged port and harbor facilities and coastal railways, washed away many vessels, and scoured the foundations of coastal structures. The port and harbor facilities such as the breakwaters, and rigid coastal houses continuing along the coast reduced the tsunami and lessened the damage that it caused. Hydraulic experiments were conducted to investigate the characteristics of tsunami flooding on flat or declining ground, since it was clarified by the field survey that the severer tsunami damage was caused at the place where the coastal land inclines inland. The experimental results show that the pressure acting on the structure on the sloping bottom was at least twice that of the flat bottom under the experimental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalCoastal Engineering Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Jun


  • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
  • Field survey
  • Hydraulic experiment
  • Tsunami damage
  • Tsunami trace height
  • Wave pressure


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