Q:

Can tsunamis be prevented?

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Quick Answer

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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Full Answer

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:

    Where do tsunamis form?

    A:

    A tsunami begins above an undersea earthquake, landslide or volcanic eruption along the ocean floor, explains Lisa Gardiner of the National Earth Science Teachers Association. In the case of an earthquake, when the movement along a fault moves the seafloor upward, water also pushes upward and becomes a tsunami wave.

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  • Q:

    When do tsunamis happen?

    A:

    Tsunamis happen when earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions disturb the ocean floor. Most tsunamis occur when there are earthquakes at tectonic plate boundaries. When the ocean floor at the boundary rises or falls, it moves the water above and creates the huge waves that become tsunamis.

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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 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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