Yet the water displacement caused by the thrusting of the Indian plate beneath the Burma plate created 30-foot waves that were to kill people on the African coast more than 3,000 miles away.
After a further series of transform faulting, and the continuing subduction of the India Plate beneath the Burma plate, backarc spreading saw the formation of the marginal basin and seafloor spreading centre which would become the Andaman Sea, a process well-underway by the mid-Pliocene (3-4 Ma).
The tsunami also resulted in various geomorphological changes in the region such as those in the contour of the 2,000 km-long Burma plate, which sits atop the India plate, resulting in a rise in the land level of Chennai, ranging between 0.5 cm and 3 cm.
A tsunami - the term is Japanese - is a series of waves generated by underwater seismic disturbances, in this case the interface of the India and Burma tectonic plates.
The India and Australian Plates are subducting beneath the Sunda and Burma plates along the Sunda Arc.
Weh Island is located in the Andaman Sea, where two groups of islands, the Nicobar Islands and Andaman Islands, are scattered in one line from Sumatra to the north up to the Burma plate.
Running in a rough north-south line on the seabed of the Andaman Sea is the boundary between two tectonic plates, the Burma plate and the Sunda Plate.
Its collision with the Burma plate created the volcanoes of Sumatra as well thousands of earthquakes, including the magnitude 9.0 killer.
Similarly the overriding plate consists of two microplates, the Sunda and Burma plates.
The Sumatran coast is in the subduction zone where the Indian plate meets the Burma plate beneath the Andaman Sea, forming the northern part of the Sunda trench.