The Jan. 10, 2005, cover of TIME
December 26, 2014 9:00 AM EST

The day of Dec. 26, 2004, started with an earthquake, off the coast of Sumatra, and only got worse as the resulting tsunami hit coastal nations throughout the Indian Ocean.

As TIME explained in a special issue devoted to the devastation, the geology behind the tsunami caused a chain reaction of disaster:

Tiina Seppanen survived, but more than 100,000 others did not. Read the rest of the special issue, here in the TIME Vault, to learn more about what happened: Tsunami

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