Q:

Can tsunamis be prevented?

A:

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, tsunamis are a naturally occurring part of Earth's climate and can't be prevented. The best course of action people can take when dealing with tsunamis is to better prepare for them and minimize the damage that tsunamis inevitably cause. Consistent research and effort is being put into developing the means to help global communities mitigate the devastation of tsunamis.

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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other similar agencies work diligently to establish effective warning systems and educational programs designed to alert people to the impending occurrence of tsunamis far enough in advance that communities are given adequate time to evacuate danger zones. One example is NOAA's Tsunami Warning System, which monitors the Pacific Basin for potential tsunami activity. Between its two centers in Alaska and Hawaii, NOAA is able to serve the areas of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii and surrounding international locations that may be affected by any seismic activity connected to the Pacific Basin. NOAA states it has been working since 2004 to expand the outreach of its data expedition to include warning services to the Atlantic Oceans and the Caribbean Sea. NOAA also has an educational outreach program called the Hazard Education and Awareness Tool, which informs citizens in threatened areas of how to be prepared in the event of a tsunami.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do tsunamis start?

    A:

    Tsunamis start from any large, sudden displacement of water. This includes earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and the breaking of coastal ice, such as in glaciers or icebergs. Rarely, a large body from space, such as a meteorite, can cause a tsunami.

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  • Q:

    Where do most tsunamis occur?

    A:

    Tsunamis occur most often in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Center for Tsunami Research. Areas along the Pacific Rim are most vulnerable due to the frequent earthquakes that occur. Tsunamis also occur less frequently in the Mediterranean Sea.

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  • Q:

    How are tsunamis measured?

    A:

    Tsunamis are measured by their runup,which is the difference between an observed sea level and the distance the tsunami waters reach on shore. This is generally measured once the danger has passed, so debris and destruction of plant life are often used as gauges of runup.

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  • Q:

    How do tsunamis affect people?

    A:

    While an immediate effect of a tsunami is the destruction of life and property, tsunamis also create a health crisis. Not only do tsunamis wipe out buildings and carry many of the things in their path away, they leave behind a crippled infrastructure that makes it extremely difficult to provide basic services to the people who survived.

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