Natural Hazards

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 107–117 | Cite as

Socotra Island, Yemen: field survey of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami

  • Hermann M. Fritz
  • Emile A. Okal
Original Paper


The tsunami of 26th December 2004 severely affected Yemen’s Socotra Island with a death at a distance of 4,600 km from the epicenter of the Magnitude 9.0 earthquake. Yemen allowed a detailed assessment of the far-field impact of a tsunami in the main propagation direction. The UNESCO mission surveyed 12 impacted towns on the north and south shores covering from the east to the west tip of Socotra. The international team members were on the ground in Yemen from 11 to 19 October 2006. The team measured tsunami run-up heights and inundation distances based on the location of watermarks on buildings and eyewitness accounts. Maximum run-up heights were typically on the order of 2–6 m. Each measurement was located by means of global positioning systems (GPS) and photographed. Numerous eyewitness interviews were recorded on video. The tsunami impact on Socotra is compared with other locations along the shores of the Indian Ocean.


Tsunami Runup 26 December 2004 earthquake Indian Ocean Yemen Socotra Island Horn of Africa Field survey 



The survey team was supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) award #4500034222. The authors would like to thank the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO in Paris and the local Socotra Conservation and Development Program (SCDP) staff on Socotra Island in Yemen, in particular our local survey guide geologist Mohammed Najeeb.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil & Environmental EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologySavannahUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geological SciencesNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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