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Which tsunami was more significant, the 2004 Indian Ocean or the 2011 Japan Tsunami, and why?

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While both were catastrophic, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamis were far more significant in terms of power and sheer destruction. The 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake was the third largest every recorded as well as the longest duration of faulting ever observed. The tsunamis created by this earthquake, known as the Boxing Day tsunamis, killed over 200,000 people in 14 separate countries, making them one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.

The 2011 Japanese tsunami, or the 2011 Tohoku tsunami, only killed a small fraction in comparison. However, this tsunami was the cause of the nuclear accident at Fukushima, which still plagues the pacific ocean to this day.

The Indian Ocean tsunami was more significant in terms of destruction and loss of life, but it could be argued that the Tohoku tsunami was more significant in regard to long-term worldwide effects.

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