Within the era of modern digital-recording, the December 26th 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake represents an event of unprecedented scale. Hydroacoustic observations have made significant contributions toward our understanding of this great rupture and serve to reiterate the potential use of tertiary (T) waves as a tool in tsunami warning. Small-aperture arrays of hydrophones operated by the International Monitoring System (IMS) recorded the seismically generated, water-borne T-wave within the Indian Ocean. Due to the velocity structure of the oceanic water column, T-wave propagation is both slower and more efficient than radiation within the solid earth. This results in a relatively large amplitude signal that arrives within a time window distinct from the more complex and overlapping pattern of solid earth seismic phases. Hydroacoustic analysis has constrained the rupture length of the fault to be similar to 1,200 km and the duration on the order of 8 min, with 2-3 phases exhibiting progressively decreasing rupture velocity. These data also indicate that aftershock rates in the first hours following the mainshock correlate with spatial variability in the sourced T-wave amplitude, with far fewer events along the northern section of the main rupture. Although IMS stations telemeter data in near real time, data access for scientists was restricted due to the provisions of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The swift dissemination of data will be critical in using hydroacoustic methods to assess the magnitude and tsunamigenic potential of future events.
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