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Public Eye

Asian Tsunami Imagery
Trincomalee, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an extension of the south Indian plateau. It is separated from India by Palk Strait (20 statute miles (32 km) wide at its narrowest) and by the Gulf of Mannar. Mannar Island, off Sri Lanka's northwest coast, and the nearby shallows known as Adam's Bridge virtually connect the island to the mainland. Sri Lanka's greatest length is 270 statute miles (435 km) and its widest point is 140 statute miles (225 km).

Sri Lanka has three main topographical regions: the mountains, the coastal plain and the coast. The mountains in the south central section rise to jagged peaks 7000 to 8000 ft (2100-2400 m) high. Highest is Pidurutalagala (Mount Pedro) at 8291 ft (2527 m). Best known of the peaks is Sri Pada (Adam's Peak), 7360 ft (2243 m), a landmark that was familiar to ancient navigators. A coastal plain in the island's southern section broadens into an extensive flat, dry region north of the mountains. The coasts are rimmed by sandy beaches. The force of the surf is diminished by coral reefs, sand banks and shoals.

The only great natural harbor is at Trincomalee on Koddiyar Bay on the northeast coast. The region's largest city stands on an isthmus with two deep bays to seaward and a fine natural Inner Harbour to the west. It naturally attracted the attention of European colonial powers as early as the first quarter of the 17th century, changing hands repeatedly among the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French and the British in a series of side-shows to the European wars of the 17th and 18th centuries, before finally falling to a British fleet in 1795. It remained one of the British Empire's most important ports in Asia, and from 1941-45 was the headquarters of the Allied Southeast Asia commander - Lord Louis Mountbatten.

This 1m panchromatic image near Trincomalee, Sri Lanka was collected by ORBIMAGE's OrbView-3 satellite Monday, Dec. 27th, one day after the area was hit hard by the tsunami. The image shows inland flooding and major structural damage caused by the giant wave.

Click on the small image to view a larger version

Imagery overview of the immediate aftermath of the tsunami and receding waves.
(Image source: OrbImage)

Imagery overview of the immediate aftermath of the tsunami.
(Image source: OrbImage)

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Page last modified: 01-07-2011 18:34:20 ZULU