Andaman & Nicobar Island Tsunami History

The Earthquake of June 26, 1941
Date and Origin Time: June 26, 1941, at 11:52:03 UTC

The Epicenter of the earthquake was 12.50 North, 92.57 East. The earthquake Location was about 20.5 kms W of Flat Island, 23.6 kms WNW of Yadita (Middle Andaman Island Group), 96.7 kms NNW of Port Blair (South Andaman Islands), 617 kms SW of Yangon, Myanmar, and 834 kms NNW of Banda Aceh (Sumatra), Indonesia. Originally the magnitude was estimated as Moment Magnitude, Mw 7.7M but, based on the earthquake's long rupture, a Mw 8.1 was subsequently assigned to this event. Earthquake Focal Depth was Shallow.
The earthquake of June 26, 1941 was one of the strongest in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands of India. The quake generated a tsunami in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal which was particularly destructive along the east coast of India. In the hours following the major earthquake, a series of powerful aftershocks struck the region. Within 24 hours of the main shock 2 earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 struck on June 27th, 1941. There were 14 earthquakes of magnitude 6.0 up to January 1942. Strong ground motions were felt throughout the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Highest intensities were experienced at Baratang Island, Shoal Bay Creek ­ north of Port Blair ­ and near Port Anson. Also, the quake was strongly felt over a large geographical region in the Bay of Bengal ­ particularly from the eastern coast of India (Coromandel ) to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Strong tremors and shocks were also felt in Madras (Chennai), Vishakhapatnam, Calcutta ("Kolkata"), Chandernagar and Cuttack.


At the time of 1941 tsunami, Andaman and Nicobar Islands were under Japanese occupation. Detailed records of damage and death tolls are not available. However, the death toll on the islands is estimated at over 3,000 and there is no specific record on the death toll and damage caused by the tsunami. Extensive eartquake damage occurred primarily on the Middle and South Andaman Islands. Most of the masonry structures in and around Port Blair were badly affected. The earthquake destroyed Cellular Jail and all buildings on Ross Island, the then administrative center of the British government. Although there is little and confusing information, it is believed that the 1941 tsunami impacted the east coasts of India and Sri Lanka and about 5,000 people on the east coast of India were killed.

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