This book is essentially B.S.—Before Sumatra. Before December 26, 2004, when part of the thrust fault interface between the subducting Indian and overriding Burma plates off the coast of Sumatra broke. Before the rupture raced 1,200 km northward at 10,000 km/hr (Mach 8). Before an area of the subducting plate comparable to that of California moved 10 meters, causing a magnitude 9.3 earthquake that was the largest in 40 years. Before the resulting seafloor motion generated a tsunami that crossed the Indian Ocean at the speed of a jetliner and killed more than 200,000 people.

The almost unbelievable size of...

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