It seems that the entire community of earthquake professionals was stunned by the number of fatalities (approximately 300,000 dead or missing and presumed dead) in the 2004 Sumatran-Andaman earthquake and tsunami. It took us by surprise and seemed so out of proportion with anything that occurred in the decades prior. It was a rare confluence of circumstances that led to such massive loss. If, through our earthquake studies, we had been able to prevent just 5% of those deaths, then we would have saved more lives than have been lost in all other tsunamis for many decades. One clear lesson...

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