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The raising of the sea floor significantly reduced the capacity of the Indian Ocean, producing a permanent rise in the global sea level by an estimated 0.1 millimetres (0.004 in).
Locations of initial earthquake and all aftershocks measuring greater than 4.0 from 26 December 2004 to 10 January 2005.
The Indian Plate is part of the great Indo-Australian Plate, which underlies the Indian Ocean and Bay of Bengal, and is drifting north-east at an average of 6 centimetres per year (2.4 inches per year).
The India Plate meets the Burma Plate (which is considered a portion of the great Eurasian Plate) at the Sunda Trench.
The megathrust earthquake was unusually large in geographical and geological extent.
An estimated 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) of fault surface slipped (or ruptured) about 15 metres (50 ft) along the subduction zone where the Indian Plate slides (or subducts) under the overriding Burma Plate.
Indonesia lies between the Pacific Ring of Fire along the north-eastern islands adjacent to New Guinea, and the Alpide belt that runs along the south and west from Sumatra, Java, Bali, Flores to Timor.
The undersea megathrust earthquake was caused when the Indian Plate was subducted by the Burma Plate and triggered a series of devastating tsunamis along the coasts of most landmasses bordering the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000–280,000 people in 14 countries, and inundating coastal communities with waves up to 30 metres (100 ft) high.
It was one of the deadliest natural disasters in recorded history.
The volcanic activity that results as the Indo-Australian Plate subducts the Eurasian Plate has created the Sunda Arc.
As well as the sideways movement between the plates, the sea floor is estimated to have risen by several metres, displacing an estimated 30 cubic kilometres (7.2 cu mi) of water and triggering devastating tsunami waves.