Skip to content

NOAA NCTR experimental research product
Not an official forecast
Sumatra Tsunami, April 11, 2012
Main Event Page

The Sumatra tsunami (off the West Coast of Northern Sumatra) was generated by a Mw 8.6 earthquake (2.327°N, 93.063°E ), at 08:38:36 UTC, 437km (271mi) SW from Banda Aceh, Indonesia (according to the USGS). In approximately 39 minutes, the tsunami was first recorded at tsunameter/DART® buoy 23227. Forecast results shown below were created with the NOAA forecast method using MOST model with the tsunami source inferred from tsunameter/DART® data.

The graphics display forecast results, showing qualitative and quantitative information about the tsunami, including tsunami wave interaction with ocean floor bathymetric features, and neighboring coastlines. Tsunami model amplitude information is shown color-coded according to the scale bar. Offshore tsunami wave amplitude was forecasted based on actual tsunami observations at DARTs 23227 and 23401 and was not based on any particular earthquake mechanism.

Modeling Results
  • Model amplitudes calculated with the  MOST forecast model. Filled colors show maximum computed tsunami amplitude in cm during 24 hours of wave propagation. Black contours show computed tsunami arrival time.
  • YouTube Propagation animation and .mov file

Model and tsunameter/DART® buoy data / tide gauge data comparison

Comparison of the April 11, 2012 Sumatra sunami recorded at tsunameter/DARTs and sea-level gauges with model forecasts.

The DART model timeseries are obtained from the pre-computed generation/propagation forecast database in real time, after fitting models to tsunami records from three closest DARTs (23227, 23401, 56001).


Tang, L., V. V. Titov, and C. D. Chamberlin (2009), Development, testing, and applications of site-specific tsunami inundation models for real-time forecasting, J. Geophys. Res., 114, C12025, doi:10.1029/2009JC005476. [PDF version]

Titov, V.V. (2009): Tsunami forecasting. Chapter 12 in The Sea, Volume 15: Tsunamis, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA and London, England, 371–400.

Wei, Y., E. Bernard, L. Tang, R. Weiss, V. Titov, C. Moore, M. Spillane, M. Hopkins, and U. Kânoğlu (2008): Real-time experimental forecast of the Peruvian tsunami of August 2007 for U.S. coastlinesGeophys. Res. Lett.35, L04609, doi: 10.1029/2007GL032250. [PDF Version]

Disclaimer: The forecasts on these pages show the results of ongoing research to enhance tsunami science and to improve NOAA operational tsunami forecasts. These products were developed during or shortly after the tsunami event, are intended for research use, and are not an official forecast. They should not be used as the basis of any public or private policy decisions. Please contact NCTR to find if there are more detailed follow-on analysis results.

For media inquiries:

PMEL and NOAA contacts

When using information from this page, please credit NOAA / PMEL / Center for Tsunami Research